On 15 March 2019, 1.5 million students across the globe left their classrooms and took to the streets.
School strikes for the climate have become a global trend inspired by Greta Thunburg, a 16 year old Swedish climate activist who started protesting outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018, missing school to raise awareness of climate change and global warming.
Thunburg’s message that adults have not been doing enough resonated with young people globally. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act,” she said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019.
The fresh and jazzy new BBC Scotland “Nine” news programme has come under a wave of criticism after inviting a renowned climate science denier onto its show on the very day of the global school strike.
It’s accused of (at best) incompetent coverage of the protests which saw children and young people striking in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fenwick, East Kilbride, Coatbridge, Stirling, Inverkeithing, Peebles, Fort William, Forres, St Andrews, Inverness, Ullapool, South Uist, Aberdeen, Aberdour, Kirkwall and Eigg yesterday.
In what might be seen as an afternoon practical lesson in democracy, free speech, and civic engagement, students from cities and towns across the country and the world marched, chanted, and held placards aloft.
One of the biggest marches in Australia saw 25,000 students on the streets of Sydney, the home of the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Daily Telegraph.
But one student in particular caught the eye of The Daily Telegraph — a 17-year-old, Year 12 pupil called Joanne Tran, who wrote an article for the newspaper explaining why she would not be marching.
On March 15 droves of students around the world walked out of school to protest politicians’ inaction on climate change, with approximately one million people participating in the strikes, according to organizers. From Sydney to Stockholm, students had planned more than 1,600 school strikes in over 100 countries, inspired by the weekly Friday climate protests of Swedish student Greta Thunberg.
And in New Orleans, Louisiana, a small but resolute group of students and supporters gathered a few blocks from Lusher Middle and High School, on St. Charles Avenue, one of the city’s most famous thoroughfares, to confront their state’s heightened urgency to stop climate change or face losing the land they are standing on.
Hundreds of thousands of children are striking from school to take to the streets demanding policymakers take the climate crisis seriously. This is an open letter from three striking students in years 7 and 8 in Lancashire, the only area of the UK currently being fracked for shale gas extraction.
By Thomas O'Neill, Research Director of corporate transparency NGO InfluenceMap
If you were sitting on the last lifeboat from the Titanic, making a hole here, removing a panel there, while denying that ships can sink, your fellow passengers would rightly deem your actions deliberately destructive.
The climate and energy policies which governments must implement if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent within the next 12 years are our civilisation’s lifeboat to avoid the worst effects of climate change, which threaten the security of all humankind.
When needed, teenagers will climb on literally anything - traffic lights, bus tops, statues - so that they can be heard.
“They need to start listening and stop hiding their heads in the smog,” one of the young protestors at the Youth Strike 4 Climate in London’s Parliament Square said of world leaders - one of over 50 protests in towns and cities across the UK today.
The demographics of climate breakdown are stark. Not just the obvious north-south divide where those in parts of the world already facing the daily reality of climate crisis aren’t afforded the bougie luxury of “scepticism”, but the awful process of an inter-generational legacy handed down by a society unwilling to face the truth.
The unlikely figure of Greta Thunberg has through quiet integrity inspired her School Strike movement to morph and gain momentum. Now, the news that the strikes are spreading to Britain has provoked a cacophony of protest from the climate science denial network.