Canberra, March 15: Thousands of schoolchildren across the world, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg who has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, abandoned their classrooms Friday to demand action on climate change as part of a global youth campaign.
The protests in about 100 countries, including India, were a part of a movement started by Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden’s Parliament. Scientists say that tougher measures are needed to cut global warming, the Guardian reported.
In India, several students joined the “Fridays for Future” movement seeking action on climate change. Pictures and videos shared by Greenpeace International on Twitter showed students in Delhi and Gurugram holding placards and posters urging action over climate change.
“We demand clean air, water and soils for our safe future,” tweeted Greenpeace, sharing a photograph which shows a row of students in their uniforms holding placards with slogans against air pollution. The Paris climate agreement of 2017 committed nearly 200 countries to keeping global temperatures “well below” 2.0 Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and to striving for a maximum of 1.5 Celsius.
At one of the largest protests, in Sydney, the protesters held up banners with slogans such as “The seas are rising and so are we”, “You’re burning our future” and “There is no planet B”. The students ignored calls from authorities to stay in class.
A leader of the student movement, 15-year-old Vivienne Paduch, led the crowd of protesters in a chance of “the youth are rising, no more compromising”. “We really want everyone to know that the fight for climate justice and the fight for climate action really is a global fight and involves equity for everyone”, Paduch said.
Hundreds of school students gathered in Stockholm’s central square. Thunberg joined the crowd in the Swedish capital and said: “We have been born into this world and we have to live with this crisis, and our children and our grandchildren. “We are facing the greatest existential crisis humanity has ever faced. And yet it has been ignored. You who have ignored it know who you are.”
In New Zealand, Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who was assaulted on Thursday on his way to Parliament, came out in support for the strikers in Wellington, still sporting a black eye. In London, thousands of schoolchildren poured into Parliament Square brandishing banners declaring “Coral not coal” and “Stop denying the earth is dying”. The big crowd in central London on its way to Whitehall blocked traffic and chanted slogans.