Thousands of children and teens have skipped Friday’s lessons to go ‘on strike’ and attend protests fighting against climate change.
The Youth Strike 4 Climate protests, inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg’s solo demonstrations, have been taking place in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK.
— Andrew Simms (@AndrewSimms_uk) February 15, 2019
Organisers say they want the government to declare a climate emergency and take decisive action to tackle the issue head-on – including drastic reforms to environmental policy and education.
In Belgium, thousands of students have skipped school for six weeks running, demanding action from leaders. Their latest protest, on Valentine’s Day, saw teenagers take to the streets with banners calling “Time’s Up” and “Act Now”.
My daughter is 14. Today she strikes from school for climate change. When I was 14 I was playing tapes in my room. As much as I am proud of her she shouldn’t have to be doing this. Shame on you, Westminster, you FAIL young people. @theresa_may #SchoolStrike4Climate #schoolstrike pic.twitter.com/sz0DgG6t6U
— Julie Hamill (@JulieHamill) February 15, 2019
Children on their way to the school climate change strike, Highbury and Islington tube pic.twitter.com/6uNXOi33hC
— Samuel West (@exitthelemming) February 15, 2019
Anna Taylor, of UK Student Climate Network, said: “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.
“Unless we take positive action, the future’s looking bleak for those of us that have grown up in an era defined by climate change.”
— Bella Lack 🌱 (@BellaLack) February 15, 2019
Downing Street has released a statement saying it’s important for young people to engage with the issue but they shouldn’t be walking out of classes.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Everybody wants young people to be engaged in the issues that affect them most so that we can build a brighter future for all of us.
“But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.
“That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.”