By 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.”
A student should have led the chants: Jimmy Cocking
By ERWIN CHLANDA