A global, independent youth movement is gaining momentum – with a UK strike planned for February
A report from Campaign Against Climate Change, and news from young Scottish climate activist and conservationist Holly Gillibrand.
.A UK wide student strike has been called on Friday 15th February 2019 to protest against climate inaction, with a global strike following on Friday 15th March. There have been escalating young people’s school strikes across the globe, with tens of thousands coming onto the streets to demand action to stop global warming and environmental destruction. All have been inspired by Greta Thunberg, who began a solo climate protest by striking from school in Sweden in August 2018. Since then, thousands of school students around the world have joined her.
The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the US, Canada and Japan.
The picture above shows young people in Belgium taking part in a strike organised by an independent youth movement, not affiliated to any parties or organisations. In November 2018, thousands of Australian children struck school in defiance of the prime minister to protest for greater action on climate change. Organisers estimated around 15,000 left their classrooms in 30 locations across the country, including Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, carrying signs reading “procrastinating is our job not yours” and “I’ve seen smarter Cabinets at Ikea”. There were similar protests in Canberra and Hobart also.
On 10th January, 3000 young people took to the streets of Brussels, calling for climate action outside the the European Parliament. A week later on 17th January, 12,500 came out. On 24th January, over 32,000 took part, with another 5000 coming out in other Belgian cities. The following day, there were climate strikes in Switzerland, where more than 20,000 students from schools and colleges in 15 cities took part, and in Germany, where similar numbers joined events in at least 56 towns and cities.
For the February 15th Youth Strike 4 Climate in the UK, events have so far been set up in cities including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol and Brighton. The action is part of a campaign run by Extinction Rebellion which is demanding that the UK Government reduces carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
Holly Gillibrand, 13 year old conservationist, campaigner, climate striker, rewilding ambassador and environmental activist from Fort William, has already instigated protests in Scotland. For a week in January she stood outside Lochaber High school for an hour a day to raise awareness over the issue.
Her action has been inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who last year went on strike from school in Sweden after a spate of heat waves and wildfires.
In a recent interview with The Herald, Holly said: “I am striking because we are running out of time. Thousands of children around the world should not be having to miss classes because of our leaders inability to treat the climate crisis as a crisis.”
Holly said: “Climate change is what concerns me most about the world. My family have been worried about climate change, but it’s only started dawning on me in the last few years that it’s really serious and that we need to do something about it.”