By Anders Lorenzen
What started as an individual action by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, is quickly turning into a worldwide movement, with school children around the world missing school lessons to highlight the need for climate action. The protests have created a huge debate about whether the children should miss lessons in order to highlight climate change.
Last Friday thousands of school children across Britain walked out of their lessons. This action resulted in a rebuke from the Prime Minister Theresa May, but praise from Energy Minister Claire Perry who said that the children made her proud. May had voiced concerns that it would be difficult for teachers to deal with.
The actions though have won support from activists, as well as from academics who, in an open letter from 224 academics published in the Guardian newspaper, stated that “(Those taking part in the strike) have every right to be angry about the future that we shall bequeath to them, if proportionate and urgent action is not taken,”
What the students say
The pupils marched on Parliament Square in London and also gathered in other cities. They carried banners with messages such as “Climate change is worse than homework”, “Act now for our future”.
11-year old Sebastian was joined by his Mum in Derbyshire: “It’s important kids have their voices heard. If we can come down and make some noise and people see our signs they might think about it more”, he said.
In Southampton, Kit and Tash who studies Zoology took part. “With climate change, we won’t have anything we care about in the future,” Kit said.
In Durham, 16-year old Ahmed had a message to the government: “My message today is the government needs to wake up and do some action or else we’ll all be swimming soon,”.
In London, 17 year old Masie said “It’s important to make climate issues mainstream. It’s so good young people are talking about it. A lot of our teachers have supported it. We were making our signs at school yesterday and they loved it.”
Since Greta Thunberg started her strike outside her Swedish parliament in August last year, she has become a world phenomenon. She was invited to the World Economic Forum, the UN climate talks, and has even spoken at a TEDX in Stockholm. She has been praised by people of all ages for her bravery and boldness in addressing the climate crisis.