March 24, 2019

Thousands of children stage school walk out to protest climate change

18 February 2019, 10:39 | Edward Lowe

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Maia Willis Reddick, a 17-year-old student at Belfast's Methodist College, said her school had been supportive of her joining the action. "Therefore I have no choice but to have the whole day off". "They have [our] support and I hope they will have the support of their teachers and education authorities".

In Wales, hundreds of primary and secondary school pupils descended on the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay.

Groups chanted energetically "This is what democracy looks like", "CO2, no thank you" and "Don't be a knob turn off the hob".

One human rights barrister told The Ecologist that parents had been in touch with concerns about being fined for the strike, and that the right to protest should not be restricted to those who can afford it.

"Nothing is more important than a child's education and there are plenty of ways that children and young people can engage with social issues in school".

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for south west England and Gibraltar, one of 200 scientists who signed a public letter of support for strikers.

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The global #ClimateStrike movement is growing - with actions taking place throughout the world, including those in Australia, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Japan and more than a dozen other countries.

Friday is the first time that a coordinated protest is happening in the United Kingdom, with pupils set to take to the streets in nearly 40 cities and towns.

It said "individual school leaders can decide how best to respond" to any protests involving its students.

More than 30 towns and cities across the country, including Norwich and Cambridge, are expected to take part in the protest which is due to start at 11.30am and finish at around 2.30pm.

It is the latest iteration of a global movement that has swept across Europe in recent months, and one that was initially inspired by the 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden's parliament.

Students are asking governments to take urgent measures to address the crisis by bringing environmental reform, system change and declaring a climate emergency. "Great to chat with young people so passionate about #climatechange".

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"I think that fears surrounding potential fines are natural for a lot of students in what may be their first taste of climate action".

Miss Kamal, of Hyde Park, said: "For me personally, it's about making students feel empowered, making them feel like they can make change and show the politicians they care about their future".

"Schools have a policy of only allowing absences for medical reasons or under exceptional circumstances".

"Young people across the world have been excluded from participating in the fight against the climate crisis".

Global temperatures are on course for a rise of 3 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, far overshooting a global target of limiting the increase to 2C or less, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization says.

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