South Africans Join 1 Million Students Worldwide in Climate Change Strike

South African learners joined an estimated 1 million school students – from over 100 countries around the world – who walked out of classes on Friday in a global strike, to protest against government inaction on climate change. (Watch video below.)

Students take part in a global protest against climate change in Cape Town, South Africa, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Signs in South Africa included “Eskom we don’t want your dirty coal” and “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”

Meanwhile in New Zealand (just before tragedy struck at two mosques), students carried handmade signs with messages like: “Climate change is worse than Voldemort”, referring to the evil wizard in the hugely popular Harry Potter books and films.

“The oceans are rising, so are we,” read another in Sydney.

Thousands of school students from across Sydney attend the global #ClimateStrike rally at Town Hall in Sydney, Australia March 15, 2019. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas/via REUTERS

In Europe, students packed streets and squares in Paris, Madrid, Rome, Brussels and other cities for “Fridays for Future” protests.

Students protest to demand action on climate change in Lisbon, Portugal March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Demonstrations also took place across the United States. In Washington, some 1,500 students rallied in front of the Capitol chanting “climate action now!” and waving homemade placards with slogans such as “Our planet, our future.”

Students hold banners and placards during a demonstration against climate change in New York, U.S., March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Inspired by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg

The worldwide student strike movement started in August 2018, when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began protesting outside her parliament on school days. She has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. WATCH Greta Thunberg at a TED Talk here:

On Friday, Thunberg spoke at a Stockholm demonstration. Other rallies were held in 100 towns around Sweden.

“We have only been born into this world, we are going to have to live with this crisis our whole lives. So will our children and grandchildren and coming generations,” Thunberg said. “We are not going to accept this. We are striking because we want a future and we are going to carry on.”

South African student inspired by Greta Thunberg

In South Africa Wynberg Girls High Grade 12 student Ruby Sampson told GroundUp: “When I was 11 years old, my parents took me on a trip around Africa, and because of that, I felt first hand the dramatic effects of climate change.” Inspired by Thunberg, Sampson joined the movement and started organising Cape Town to join the global protest.

Read GroundUp’s full article about the student strikes in South Africa, with photos, here.

Thousands marched through central London with banners reading “The future is in our hands” and “We’re missing lessons to teach you one“.

“Education is important but climate change is more important,” 14-year old Molly Powell said.

“CLIMATE CATASTROPHE”

Scientists say fossil fuel use releases greenhouse gases that trap heat and lift global temperatures, bringing more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

The 2015 Paris climate conference pledge to keep the increase in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (35 F) above pre-industrial levels requires a radical cutback in use of coal and fossil fuels.

More than 220 rallies were held in Germany. In Dusseldorf, some 2,000 school children stopped around the city, home to the headquarters of many of Germany’s largest manufacturers, reading out calls for change. “The clock is ticking and time is against us!” they shouted. “We are the last generation that can fix this.”

About 60 students protested at government house in Bangkok, holding cardboard signs to campaign against plastic. Thailand is one of the world’s worst marine plastic polluters.

The group was later invited to meet officials at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in two weeks.

There were also demonstrations in South Korea and India. In Singapore, where strict laws regulate public assembly, young people planned a virtual campaign on social media.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern supported the strikes, saying teenagers should not wait for voting age to use their voices.

That contrasted with politicians in Australia and Britain, who rebuked them for missing lessons.

“For action on issues that they think is important, they should do that after school or on weekends,” said Dan Tehan, Australia’s education minister.

Wellington parent Alex, who marched beside his 11-year-old son, disagreed: “It’s a much better day of education. This is the greatest issue of our time.”

WATCH Pupils in South Africa strike for action against Climate Change

In New York:

In Paris:

Posted by Brut nature FR on Friday, March 15, 2019

In Belgium:

(Written by Tom Westbrook/Reuters, Alex Fraser/Reuters and Jenni Baxter/SAPeople. Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in Wellington, Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Alex Fraser in London; Additional reporting by Jane Chung and Yijin Kim in SEOUL, Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in BANGKOK, Thomas Escritt in BERLIN, Simon Johnson and Phil O’Connor in STOCKHOLM, Bart Biesemans in BRUSSELS, Caterina Demony in Lisbon, Marie-Louise Gumuchian in LONDON, Roberto Mignucci in ROME, and Lee Van Der Voo in WASHINGTON; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Gareth; Jones and Rosalba O’Brien)

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South African youths march for action against climate change – including photos from around SA