Students demonstrate to call on leaders to take action against climate change on March 15, 2019 in Rome

Climate: The Youth of the World on the Streets to Save the Planet

General News

World Youth is demonstrating this Friday 15th March, 2019 to raise awareness of the climate emergency. Meeting points are organised “in 1769 locations and 112 countries”.

Thousands of young people are mobilizing on Friday 15th March, 2019 in several countries of Oceania and Asia to sensitize politicians to climate change, responding to the call made by Swedish Greta Thunberg and environmental groups.

“You destroy our future”. From Australia to France to Uganda, there are tens of thousands of young people who have left school to protest, demanding that leaders take real action against climate change.

“Time is melting,” and “Act Now or Swim,” could be read on some signs in the first parade in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, where hundreds of high school students and students initiated the movement.

Swedish Greta Thunberg (c) carries a "school strike for climate" sign during a demonstration in Brussels on 21 February 2019.
Swedish Greta Thunberg (c) carries a “school strike for climate” sign during a demonstration in Brussels on 21 February 2019. (© AFP / Archives / EMMANUEL DUNAND)

However, it was quickly tarnished by deadly shootings in two mosques in Christchurch (south of the Pacific archipelago). The local police asked the parents of students not to pick them up in the city center during the grid of the neighbourhood in the wake of these attacks.



This did not prevent young people from marching in the city, forcing the police to cordon off the city center.

In 1769 places and 112 countries

This awareness day was planned “in 1769 locations and 112 countries,” tweeted Greta Thunberg Thursday night, which partly inspired the movement with its weekly school strike.

“We are going on strike to tell our governments to do their homework and show us some evidence! “Says the call posted on Facebook. Namely evidence that the world is taking the necessary measures to limit warming to + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, as provided for by the Paris Agreement.

The list posted on the website of his movement, FridaysforFuture, had then exceeded 2000 places, with Italy, France and Germany leading the pack.

Thousands of young people have already clutched Friday in Sydney, Bangkok and Hong Kong , with the slogan “There is no planet B”, “You are destroying our future” or “If you are ‘Do not act like adults, we will do it.’

“My eyes are suffering from pollution,” said Shagun Kumari, 13, in Delhi (about 200 participants). “I want clean air that does not affect my lungs, and clean water that does not make me sick.”

Protesters raise awareness on climate change on March 15, 2019 in Bangkok.
Protesters raise awareness on climate change on March 15, 2019 in Bangkok. (© AFP / Jewel SAMAD)

Sydney, Auckland, Vanuatu …

In Sydney , 18-year-old Edward Gay vowed “100% renewable energy,” saying “it’s the only way to save lives in this country and around the world.”

Charles Rickwood, of the same age, also pointed to AFP the danger run by the Great Barrier Reef:

“If the current environmental trends continue, we will have a rise of one, two degrees in the ocean, it will simply become unsustainable and we could lose the Great Barrier Reef.”

In Paris, dozens of young people were blocking Friday morning the entry of the headquarters of a bank, Societe Generale, denouncing its funding harmful to the climate, before an event expected in the afternoon.

In Uganda, many students also went on a school strike in Kampala to protest, describing the upsurge of sudden landslides and floods in the country.

Youth demonstrate in Sydney to raise awareness of climate change on March 15, 2019.
Youth demonstrate in Sydney to raise awareness of climate change on March 15, 2019. (© AFP / Saeed KHAN)

“Temperatures have gone up, impossible to focus on in class,” says 16-year-old Warlda Mirembe, who came with her father, farmer and trader. “My awareness comes from the school flood after torrential rains. I love my country, it’s called the pearl of Africa, but it’s being destroyed. ”

“Today’s leaders will grow old and die, and leave behind a ruined world,” says student Sadrach Mirere, who coordinates Fridays For Future Uganda.

Greta Thunberg, who has made a name for herself by brandishing a “climate school strike” sign in front of the Stockholm Parliament every summer since the summer, has relayed images of protests in Australia, Japan, on Twitter. or, more modest, in the Philippines and Vanuatu.

The mobilization of the 16-year-old Swede, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, had until then been followed in only a few countries, notably in Belgium or Germany, where thousands of young people sometimes demonstrate, on a weekly basis, .

“We are going on strike to tell our governments to do their homework and show us some evidence! “Says the call posted on Facebook. Namely evidence that the world is taking the necessary measures to limit warming to a maximum of + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, as provided for by the Paris Agreement.

“We live an existential crisis ignored for decades, and if we do not act now it may be too late.”

Complain for “climate inaction”

The youth initiative has not been to the taste of some teachers and politicians.

“Leaving school for hours to protest is not something we should encourage for students,” said Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan, for example, on a public radio. “Especially when they are encouraged by green political activists”.

High school students and students demonstrate to raise awareness of climate change on March 15 in Wellington.
High school students and students demonstrate to raise awareness of climate change on March 15 in Wellington. (© AFP / Marty MELVILLE)

Conversely, the young New Zealand protesters had received support from their prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. “Do not underestimate the power of your voice,” the 38-year-old Labor told students this week in Parliament. “Too often we say that you have to be old enough to vote to have an influence. This is not the case, “she said.

“Take as many people with you as you can because we can not achieve our goals alone,” she said in a statement.



Several mayors of the C40 alliance of major cities for the climate, such as Paris and Milan, have supported young people.

The international community is committed to keeping the world below 2 ° C, but greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from fossil fuels, continue to climb, placing the planet on a trajectory of more than 3 ° C carriers of major impacts.

This mobilisation of young people is also part of a broader citizen movement for the climate, with actions of civil disobedience or lawsuits like the complaint for “climate inaction” which was filed Thursday in Paris against the French State by four NGOs supported by more than 2 million petitioners.

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