More than 1.4 million young people are set to protest about the climate crisis. Hundreds of thousands of children and young people are walking out of lessons around the world on Friday as the school strike movement continues to snowball. Climate strikes were planned in more than 1,400 cities in more than 110 countries. The global campaign inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg comes amid increasing concern about the unfolding climate crisis, especially among young people. Last year, the UN’s leading scientists warned that there were just 12 years to limit climate catastrophe. Earlier this month, another UN report warned that the widespread collapse of ecosystems was putting humanity itself at risk. And just last week it emerged that the Antarctic ice is melting much faster than previously feared and global atmospheric CO2 emissions reached a record level of 415ppm.
The school strike movement started in August when Thunberg, then 15, held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament. Since then hundreds of thousands of school children have taken part in strikes each week around the world from Australia to Canada, Ghana to Germany. In the UK, more than 100 school climate demonstrations have been planned and they focus on the need for radical reform of the education system to address the ecological crisis.
Noga Levy-Rapoport, of the UK Student Climate Network which helped organise the events, said climate breakdown posed “a grave threat to life on Earth”. In order to properly address the crisis, we need our educational institutions to be hubs of sustainability that provide a space for learning and teaching to prepare today’s students to not only be those that lead a just transition but to prepare for a changing world. In Australia Eloise Kieler, a school striker from Sydney said she felt she had no choice but to walk out of lessons. “Despite watching the climate crisis unfold, despite knowing the facts, politicians don’t act, the fossil fuel industry keeps making huge profits,” she said. “This is our future: so we will walk out of school, quit our college lessons, and take to the streets to say enough is enough. Wouldn’t you go on strike too, if you thought doing so could help protect your own future?”
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