Girl Is The Only Person In Coal Town To Attend Climate Change Strike

by : Emily Brown on : 23 Sep 2019 15:33
12-year-old girl only person to attend climate strike12-year-old girl only person to attend climate strikeDrew Hutton/Facebook

For a lot of youngsters pre-teen years are all about fitting in to the crowd, but one 12-year-old girl went out of her way to stand out by being the only person in her coal town to attend the climate change strike. 

Inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, millions of people took to streets across the world recently to protest the lack of action being taken against climate change, with huge turnouts in London, New York City, Stockholm, Guatemala City, Melbourne, Mumbai and Berlin, to name a few.

The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for the town of Chinchilla in Queensland’s Western Downs, Australia, where year six student Ariel Ehlers was the only resident to take a stand.


The preliminary numbers say there are at least 3 million people in today’s #ClimateStrike And that is before counting North and South America!! To be updated… #FridaysForFuture

Posted by Greta Thunberg on Friday, September 20, 2019

Chinchilla’s economy is said to rely on the production of coal seam gas and the local coal fired power station for employment, while locals admit the town is largely populated with climate change deniers.

Ariel was not deterred by her lack of companions, however, as she was pictured posing with her cardboard protest sign which read ‘school strike for climate’.

Despite Education Minister Grace Grace encouraging students to protest ‘in their own time’, the 12-year-old opted to miss the final day of term, when her local school enjoys ‘Celebration Day’, to take to the streets.


The young activist spoke to Chinchilla News about her actions, explaining she’d been trying to educate her classmates about environmental issues.

In my old home town of Chinchilla one grade 6 student, Ariel Ehlers, carried out a one-person climate strike. What a champion! Chinchilla is the centre of the biggest coal seam gas fields in the country.

Posted by Drew Hutton on Friday, September 20, 2019

She said:

I did a PowerPoint presentation for my class a few weeks ago to discuss with them how climate change is already having a big impact on everyone’s future.

I discussed lots of different ways we can all help contribute towards supporting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.


Ariel went on to talk about how even small towns like hers can make a positive change, saying:

I am pretty worried about what kind of world we’re going to be living in when I am an adult.

I decided to come down and join in the protest today even though I’m from a small town a long way from Brisbane, I knew I could still do something to make my stand for climate action.

Even though the Western Downs council is just a small local part of our country’s government, they can still make a big difference. We can all make a big difference if we choose to make a stand together.

The photo of Ariel has been making the rounds on social media, with many people praising the student for her independence.


According to the MailOnline, a teacher from Chinchilla expressed her support for the 12-year-old after coming across the picture on Reddit.

They wrote:

I’m a teacher in Chinchilla (though not at Ariel’s school).

She’s a brave girl, and I support her action. Sadly, for all its wonderful qualities, Chinchilla has too many climate change deniers, not to mention a total aversion to any kind of political action.


The image of Ariel is reminiscent of a photo from the first climate strike, which shows Greta Thunberg sat alone with a protest sign.

When compared to photos from this year’s climate strike there’s no denying the impact one person can have, and by educating others Ariel may inspire more people to join her next time, just as Greta managed to do.


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Australia, chinchilla, climate strike, Environment, Greta Thunberg, school strike


Chinchilla News and 1 other
  1. Chinchilla News

    Ariel joins thousands of students for climate action strike

  2. MailOnline

    Why Ariel is the ONLY Green in the village ... and the picture her solo climate change strike shows just how divided Australia is