Thousands of pupils from all over the UK went “on strike” on the 15th February 2019, as part of a global campaign for action on climate change. children and teens from around 60 towns across the UK walked out of school to call on the government to declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problems facing our planet.
The strikes, organised by Youth Strike 4 Climate, have resulted in tens of thousands of young people taking to the streets with additional thousands expected to do the same amid the growing concern about the escalating climate crisis.
The movement was started in August 2018 when 16 year old Greta Thunberg protested outside the Swedish Parliament and accused her country of not following the Paris Climate Agreement. Jake Woodier, from the UK Youth Climate Coalition said: “The images of what Greta did and the huge strikes by school children have been widely shared by young people on social media and have really inspired people.”
There have been some pushbacks against the protests by people such as politicians and climate deniers. Recently, Belgian’s environment minister was forced to resign after falsly claiming that the protesests were a “set up”. She has since resigned her post, given the controversary caused by her remarks.
However, overall the protests have been getting broad support. Zoe Bonnet, aged 14, who has already organised a protest in Bristol, said: “People seem to think this is an issue that can be solved another time, but there is no other time, it is is is quite a big step that I am taking, but I do feel strongly that we have to solve it now … I have to do something!” Zoe heard about the strikes after seeing a video of Greta online.
The National Association of Head Teachers has expressed disapproval of the strikes saying: “Nothing is more important than a child’s education.” Despite this comment, Energy Minister, Claire Perry said she was “incredibly proud” of young people’s passion and concern. She told the BBC: “I suspect if this was happening 40 years ago, I would be out there too.”
The BBC also report that Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said schoolchildren were “right to feel let down by the generation before them,” while Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said it was the “most hopeful thing that’s happened in years”.
Theresa May has made it clear that she disapproves of the protests, saying that the “disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared.” However, First News reports that every single child they spoke to said they would do it again if the Government didn’t start listening, so the Prime Minister should expect similar activity if the Government fails to act.
A global school strike is planned for Friday 15 March 2018 with 40 countries already taking part.
(Image copyright Getty Images)