Climate strike students gain widespread support

27th March 2019

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Sarah Marsden

The student climate strike movement has reached new heights after spreading to more than 125 countries, and some of the world's most influential businesses, investors and politicians are now giving their support.

Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, around 1.4 million students, from Sweden to Australia, skipped school last month to protest government inaction on climate change.

And corporate giants Coca-Cola and Unilever have thrown their weight behind the #FridaysForFuture movement, joining a unique coalition of organisations calling on EU governments to step up their response to global warming.

In a letter to heads of state, the Coalition for Higher Ambition said that the “unprecedented citizen mobilisations“ show that ramping up climate action is now an “urgent necessity.“

Adding his support, UN secretary general Ant√≥nio Guterres demanded that world leaders bring forward “concrete, realistic plans“ to increase their national contributions at the Climate Action Summit in New York later this year.

“These schoolchildren have grasped something that seems to elude many of their elders: we are in a race for our lives, and we are losing,“ he said. “The climate summit must be the starting point to build the future we need.“

The strikes are expected to continue during the course of the year, with organisers said to be planning a mass global protest similar to last month's on 15 April.

Although attracting criticism from the prime ministers of Australia and the UK, political heavyweights Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Bernie Sanders have all expressed their support.

In a heartfelt message to protesters, the Union of Concerned Scientists said their actions were “creating cracks in the status quo through which real light and possibility can flow“.

Director of strategy and policy Alden Meyer said: “Thanks to the growing wave of youth action, the bitter mix of grief, fatigue, frustration, and anger that so many of us too often feel will be overlaid with something fresh and inspiring.

“Adults like me will stay in the fight, working side-by-side with these young new leaders to confront the powerful fossil fuel lobby and others who are standing in the way of bold climate action, and to prod our political leaders to start acting as grown-ups.“

Image credit: Alamy


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