More than 150 passionate Esperance residents have gathered at the foreshore before taking to the streets this afternoon, September 20, to demand greater action on climate change.
Sign-wielding protestors demanded politicians take action by adopting an ambitious renewable energy target, saving the Esperance Wind Farm, stopping drilling in the Great Australian Bight and making renewable energy available to all residents.
The protest, which was part of the global climate strike, saw several dozen local students walk out of their classrooms to participate.
Participants marched from the Esperance Whale Tail along the Esplanade and down Andrew Street, many receiving words of encouragement from passersby.
The march concluded at Post Office Square, where prominent locals, including South Coast Renewables' director Karl Raszyk and Home Environmental Network coordinator Sue Starr, spoke at length about the Esperance Power Project and the impact Esperance residents could have at both a local and national level.
The highlight for many was 90-year-old Salmon Gums farmer Ron Guest, who shared how he had seen climate change unfold before his eyes.
"At 90-years of age, I've seen many things happen, but one of the worst is this climate change that is coming upon us," he said.
"We must do something. We're seeing weather reach extremes and break records, like the recent frost in Salmon Gums.
"That [frost] was one of the worst I've ever known, it even killed cape weed.
"We must find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
"Our leading scientists tell us that we must urgently reduce our CO2 emissions if our children and grandchildren are to have a future.
"Australian farmers are an innovative mob, and can provide solutions, but we need the government to do a bit of the heavy lifting. I am proud to be here."
Esperance Climate Action group member Karli Florisson, who spearheaded the event, said she was thrilled with the turnout.
"It's awesome to see so many young people out here today," she said.
"This climate strike was started by school-aged children globally and we are here to stand in solidarity with the young people to say that we also want real action on climate change."
Those wanting to join the action can go to the Esperance Climate Action group on Facebook and download letters to sign and send to both local and state politicians.