Shoalhaven City Councillor Mitchell Pakes has accused school children involved in the recent climate strike of hypocrisy at the council meeting on Tuesday night.
READ MORE:Shoalhaven students strike 4 climate
"They are the first generation of students to bang on the desk for air conditioning in every classroom across the state, what's that doing to our carbon footprint?" Cr Pakes said.
"This generation is more reliant on electronic devices than any other generation.
"And research statistics from the Education Department show the amount of children riding bikes and walking to school is on the decline by 5-10 per cent per year. This means more vehicles are on the road.
"I know exactly where this (action on climate change) is coming from, this is coming from a political party trying to brainwash our youth."
Troubled by the mayoral minute, designed to praise Shoalhaven school kids who participated in school strikes on March 15, Cr Pakes said he would not take part in applauding truancy.
Creating a dichotomy - those who left school to strike and those who didn't - he condemned the behaviour of students who took part in the Nowra strike during class times, and applauded Ulladulla High School students who waved banners and discussed climate change during lunch time.
"Congratulations, those kids [from Ulladulla] are the true leaders of our future," Cr Pakes said.
Three of about 200 Ulladulla students who took part in the strike were present at the meeting.
They said the decision to hold the protest on school grounds was pragmatic - allowing them to connect with students in the playground who may have otherwise been indifferent.
They threw their support behind 250 young people from the northern Shoalhaven who left school to participate in the climate strike.
"I would have loved to have gone to the Sydney strike, or done ours out of school," Ulladulla High's Takesa Frank said.
"We saw [hosting it at school] as a way to get everyone on board."
Ulladulla High's Lachlan Congram agreed.
"It was amazing to see kids from younger years approach us and talk to us about what they knew," he said.
Greens councillors were incensed by Cr Pakes' slur on their party and on school students.
"I'm quite shocked the same argument on the Shoalhaven News social media feed is coming up here in the gallery," Mayor Amanda Findley said.
"We are saying to kids they should be worried about one day they had off school, rather than this climate which will be potentially unlivable in their lifetime," Cr Kaye Gartner said.
"We cannot imagine what we are leaving to our children."
Although Councillor John Wells supported the mayoral minute, he was conflicted.
"This is a case where rebellion against school and authority has detracted from message they're trying to impart," he said.
After an emotive debate, the mayoral minute was carried with a slight majority.
FOR: Cr Findley, Gartner, Wells, Nina Digiglio, John Levett, Bob Proudfoot, Annette Alldrick
AGAINST: Crs Pakes, Patricia White, Andrew Guile, Greg Watson, Joanna Gash, Mark Kitchener
1. Acknowledge student of the Shoalhaven for their direct action/involvement in the Students Global Strike for Climate Action.
2. Council write on behalf of the Students to the NSW and Federal Governments voicing their concerns in respect to more rapid action to reduce carbon pollution and secure a future below 1.5 degrees of warming for our young people, who see their future is at stake.