A student should have led the chants: Jimmy Cocking


2529 Jimmy Cocking 130By ERWIN CHLANDA
“Ultimately, in retrospect, it would have been better for one of the young people leading the chant.”
CEO of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) Jimmy Cocking (pictured) is commenting on the School Strike 4 Climate Action in Alice Springs last Friday when an ALEC senior staff member, Nicole Pietsch, directed about 80 students in the chanting of slogans.
This coincided with claims in the national newspaper, The Australian, and other media, about major environmental organisations seeking to influence the student movement.
A member of the organising committee of the Alice rally, Jordyn Kindness, said the committee had not asked Ms Pietsch to direct the protest group during the chants and was unaware of who might have made the request to Ms Pietsch.
“In retrospect it would have been much better had a member of the group been leading the chants, but on the spur of the moment, Nicole [Pietsch] reverted to what had been done at the previous protest, back in November, when the students chanted,” says Mr Cocking.
“She asked if they wanted to do a chant and they said yes.
“So she started a chant and they did their own after that.
“I think there are going to be some lessons and reflections happening from this, which will hopefully make these things go better in the future,” says Mr Cocking.
“We’re all human here, trying to make sense of what’s going on, why our politicians are not acting urgently on climate change. And that’s why the students are out on the streets in the first place.”
Mr Cocking said Ms Pietsch and other staff members of ALEC are highly distressed by the social media posts following the reporting of the events in the Alice Springs News Online.
Mr Cocking said this whole issue “is based on a Murdoch press investigation, so to speak, into the groups involved in organising these protests.
“The questioning by The Australian [newspaper] is largely in response to the fossil fuel lobby.”


  1. It is not worth getting your knickers in the knot for this.
    The people who do not believe in the climate change action would have found something else to diminish the value of the protest.
    Personally it would have been better to have the protest after school or on a week-end to demonstrate that young people are willing to give their time for what they believe in.

  2. If climate change is a science, it cannot be “believed in”.
    It either is, or it isn’t.

  3. It would be far better if all the cards were on the table. Laying out the full cost and consequences of committing to zero emissions. From manufacture to disposal.
    So far we have not heard or seen the full picture. Tell the ordinary voter what the effects and consequences will be, global, personal, national, the lot.

  4. @ Formerlocal4: I wrote: “Do not believe in the climate change action.” The word action makes all the difference.

  5. How ironic and so sad! The kid protesters led astray or simply confused on the science?
    Here we have on the one hand, the believers in “anthropogenic global warming” citing science is correct and now we have anti-frackers citing science is wrong.
    Why did the “no fracking” brigade highjack this protest? What are these kids to believe; science or just the science that suits an agenda?
    I think the activists are playing hard ball with very immature minds and this is a dangerous precedent.

  6. I was at the rally.
    I have to wonder why the editor of this online paper would choose to distract from the passionate message of the young people who organised this protest.
    The issue was inaction on climate change not who helped the kids express together what they had said in their speeches, amongst themselves, and to adults like myself.
    This distraction is an insult to their commitment and courage.
    [ED – It would be useful for you to inform yourself before you comment. I was at the rally, too and this newspaper reported in detail what the young people had to say. Our report was published about an hour after the rally ended. The report is fully searchable and now part of our seven million words story archive.]

  7. Yes I did fully inform myself of everything you have written about the rally … but your irrelevant story on the person helping the kids to express themselves as one voice at the end of the rally has distracted from their message … just like the deliberately distracting strategy of the Murdoch papers.
    [My editorial concern was, and remains, the potential compromise to the independence of the young people’s message which is its strength.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor]

  8. There is no way that schoolchildren should be encouraged to protest in school hours, nor in school uniform. This is, of course, a political stunt which should not infringe on curriculum. One student held a banner with extremely offensive words on it. Words, I would not expect them at that age, to know.
    Help them to fight climate change: no phones, no ipads, no PCs, no TV, no Xbox, no aircon, no new clothes/shoes etc, no lifts to school – walk. They could set a great example.


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