Thousands of students from more than 50 different towns and cities across the UK are expected to walk out of their schools this Friday.
According to the UK Youth Climate Coalition, one of the organisations arranging the strikes, “young people are determined to highlight the need for positive change to avert the impending climate breakdown.” The strike is aiming to put pressure on the Government so that further action is taken to fight climate change.
Protests are scheduled to start by 11am and run until 2pm. This is the first nationwide strike of its kind, with students from London, Manchester, Bristol and many other cities and towns simultaneously striking over climate change. In London, protestors will gather at Parliament Square. This date will be followed up by another strike on 15th March, with students from all over the world joining forces.
The movement was started by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who gained worldwide media attention last August as she decided not to attend school for three weeks and protest outside the Swedish Parliament instead.
Greta Thunberg Speech
Last December, Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland. Last month she also attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where she gave a speech which started with the the statement “our house is on fire.” Her speech also included the following message: “Adults keep saying: “we owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. 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.”
Thunberg has inspired many students across Europe. Previous Friday school strikes have taken place in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, amongst other countries. Now the movement is reaching the UK. The UK Student Climate Network has listed the four demands motivating this protest:
Demand 1 – The Government declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth taking active steps to achieve climate justice.
Demand 2 – The national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority.
Demand 3 – The Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public.
Demand 4 – The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.
Anna Taylor from the UK Student Climate Network says: “We’re running out of time for meaningful change, and that’s why we’re seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.”
“State of climate emergency”
Speaking on behalf of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, Jake Woodier adds: “Youth voices are too often left out of the discussion when it comes to climate change. Our current trajectory is completely incompatible with a clean, safe environment not only for ourselves but future generations as well.” And he concludes: “Those taking part in the action are demanding that the government declares a state of climate emergency and communicates the severity of the ecological crisis to the general public.”
Music: Unseen. Soundcloud, CC.