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Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates
(38 minutes later)
Ian Mantgani, 36, is striking in London today. He said: Ten-year-old Nellie Jacobs and her mother, Helen, had never protested before their hometown of Whaley Bridge made national headlines earlier this month.
Nellie and her did were choosing books in the library of their quiet Derbyshire town when Helen called in a panic them to say that its dam had burst and the whole neighbourhood could go under.
Carrying a homemade placed saying “School strike for climate”, Nellie was allowed to take the day off school at Whaley Bridge primary to join the global strike in Manchester.
She said:
Everyone had to be evacuated and we raced for high ground. I was quite scared because we weren’t expecting it. We occasionally get police cars coming through Whaley for something that’s not in Whaley but we’ve not had crises in Whaley.
I’m worried it might happen again. We weren’t used to that much rain so it made me worry and it made me think all this rain, we don’t get it usually so I thought that it was climate change that caused the rain.
Her mother Helen Jacobs said she had never protested in her life but felt infuriated by the inaction of global leaders. She said:
It’s kind of getting the politicians to realise that they’ve made a mistake in saying that it’s really nothing when it’s a really big problem and we need to act on it now. I thought if I got out here and did something then it might happen.
It’s been building up a lot in my mind. The climate is under threat and it has been for a long time but the action doesn’t seem to have fit the imperative. We feel like we need to wake the government up, we need to wake world leaders up and make them realise that we need systematic massive change.
We’re here and ready for change to bring the temperature down. We feel like we need to shake them by the collar to make them realise. The scientists are there telling them and still President Trump is denying climate change exists! Other leaders need to grab him, shake him, and get him on board. The whole world needs to get on this.
In Aviemore, a town in the Cairngorms National Park, in the Scottish Highlands, strikes are taking place.
So proud to see my sons heading off for the #ClimateStrike today in #Aviemore. The placards are made and they are ready to go #FridayForFuture Time for us all to do more #Cairngorms #Climate #NationalPark pic.twitter.com/74J9YXzZvN
We were sent another photograph of activity there today from Iain Gibson.
Nick from Norwich asked:
How can I join in the strike in a non-unionised office where no one cares about climate change without getting the sack?
That is a tough one. Most companies will be affected by climate chaos in some way, however: extreme weather events are already costing billions a year and those costs are not coming down soon. Foresighted companies will audit the risks they face and act to deal with them. If you work for a publicly listed company, you could try buying some shares and turning up at the AGM to ask questions about how they are dealing with climate risk. If you don’t, more of your co-workers may be interested in the climate than you think: polls show a great majority of people in most countries are concerned about the climate crisis.
Dan from Tunbridge Wells asked:
How will we make our nuclear power plants safe if this civilisation collapses? How does the hydrological cycle fit in? Can regenerative agriculture help?
Regenerative agriculture can help, and sustainable agriculture can reduce emissions, aid carbon storage and feed the world more healthily, as recent reports by the Lancet and WRI, among others, have shown. As for hydrology, the effects of climate chaos are likely to be the wet areas of the world getting wetter and the dry areas getting drier, which isn’t problematic. And as for nuclear power, some people - including the Guardian’s George Monbiot - see its an uncomfortable but perhaps necessary way out of the clinate crisis, but the very long term storage of nuclear waste is a problem still to be solved.
Kee from London asked:
How much impact do long haul flights have? How does the impact compare with, say, driving a car, or using electrical household appliances every day?
My colleague Niko Kommenda recently published an excellent calculator showing what impact flights have. Whether you can offset the emissions from such flights by cutting carbon in other aspects depends on how many flights you take and where to.
Niko from Germany asked:
What is your estimate on how much renewables capacity Europe needs to build to meet its climate targets? My rough guess is between 30-40 GW per year, that would equal about 600 wind turbines per month, that’s quite a challenge (other forms of renewables are of course also available).
The International Energy Agency and the European Environment Agency are the best sources.
Stephen from Cheshire asked:
Whatever happened to the plant a tree in ‘73 campaigns I grew up with in the 1970s? Surely now is a good time to kickstart this again with planting in every public space and private garden. Fruit trees also feed us and wildlife. I have planted hundreds of trees over the years. Ultimately, however, the planet is simply overcrowded. My wife and I chose to be child free so we’ve done our bit...
I love the plant a tree in 73 campaign as I used to have some of the stickers! Planting trees is part of the UK government response but so far targets have been missed. Today my colleague Rowena Mason reports on an NHS tree planting campaign.
Thousands of French youngsters skipped school to march through Paris. Claude Guyon, a cinema decorator and sculptor, was dressed as a Brazilian tribal leader and carried a “sacred rattle”. He said:
I’m here to represent the guardians of the Earth from north and South America. The tribal leader, who is a woman, gave me this headdress so I could be here today as an ambassador for her.
Primary school headteacher Scott McFarlane took the morning off work to attend the Middlesborough climate strike with his wife, who is also a teacher, and his nine-year-old son, who is a pupil at his school.
During the strike, dozens of protesters staged a “die in” in the North Yorkshire town’s Centre Square – lying on the pavement for seven minutes to illustrate the rate at which it is believed species are becoming extinct.
McFarlane allowed other children at Stokesley primary academy to take part in the strikes if they wished, giving them an “education other than at school” mark on the register.
While not many took up the offer, he said the fact that so many young people seemed to be engaged with environmental activism had given him hope.
“I think Greta Thunberg’s an absolute idol. We’ve got kids at school who last year were coming dressed as Ariana Grande, but have now changed their hairstyles to look like Greta,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion Teesside, said he and his son would be striking from the school next month for XR’s October Rebellion in London.
“I am genuinely scared for the future of the human race. Not in the distant future but soon. We have to act,” he said.
“If there’s any further action like today, I will always let children have the day off. Not everybody agrees and I’m not asking them to, really. But I hope our example is one that people are starting to take on board.”
Of all the venues globally that will host climate strike protests today, none can surpass Miami Beach for poignancy. Florida’s poster-city for sea level rise will sink under seven feet of water by the end of the century, if scientists’ predictions are realised, and already it takes only a high tide and a rainy day to send floodwaters surging inland.
These dark clouds are why student climate activists from all over South Florida will gather at Miami Beach city hall this morning to reinforce their message that more needs to be done. At the most recent youth strike in May, barely four dozen waved placards and called for action - but today students will walk out of their South Florida schools and assemble there in their hundreds to highlight the urgency of the moment.
Gabriella Marchesani, a Miami high school senior and an organiser of today’s rally:
We’re told by the adults, ‘what you’re doing is a good thing, keep up the great work’. But it shouldn’t be just ‘oh, keep doing what you’re doing’, it should be ‘let me see what I can do to help you. How can I be a climate voter? How can I switch my lifestyle to be more sustainable? How can I lower my carbon footprint?’
She adds:
We want this to be that historic moment that we look back on and say that was the day we got it changed. That was the day we were able to make people hear us, and create legislation and address this crisis.
Andreu from Valencia, Spain asked:
According to scientists, the “natural evolution” of the sun will lead to major climate change here on the Earth. So, what role, if any, does solar activity (solar winds, solar flares, sunspots) play in climate change right now? Are we missing something, have we miscalculated or does the sun have nothing to do with climate change at this point?
Changes in the sun’s activity are not causing the climate change and global heating we are currently experiencing. They are caused by human actions, chiefly burning fossil fuels and changing land use, as successive reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have conclusively shown.
Alex from Warwickshire asked:
The electrification of small vehicles is seen as an achievable near-term step towards cutting emissions, but to replace a significant fraction of the current fossil-fuelled fleet would presumably require a drastic increase in the global extraction and use of ‘rare-earth’ metals for battery manufacture. How well do we currently understand the environmental impact of such a change and are there more sustainable battery technologies on the horizon?
In the long term, availability of rare earths will be an important issue but it is equally important to note that there are no serious current supply problems as the manufacturing rates show. Batteries are one of the biggest areas of research and there are multiple avenues being explored, from nanotechnology to graphene and even aluminium, a common metal, as an alternative. Hydrogen fuel cells are another possibility.
Tracey from Ross-on-Wye asked:
Guy McPherson, an environmental scientist, argues that, due to the protection from the sun’s heat attributable to global dimming, if we cut carbon emissions the Earth will heat faster, and the planet will be uninhabitable for any species within a decade. Why is this theory not spoken about or even mentioned by any other leading environmental voices?
Because it is wrong. The dimming of light from the sun owing to aerosols does have a small effect, but as you seem to be pointing out, many of the aerosols are soot, or black carbon. Black carbon actually adds to warming, especially when it falls on snow. Removing black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants could reduce temperatures by as much as 0.5C as work by Durwood Zaelke and others has clearly shown.
You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.
Lyra Harris, six, from Islington, London, protesting outside 10 Downing Street, said:
Stop this nonsense. Our Earth is getting too hot. We have to act now for everyone. It’s not just for humans, climate change harms the animals too.
Over in Greece it is pupils who have been leading protests with hundreds pouring into Athens’ main plaza, Syntaga square.
Ariadni, 15, holding a hand-drawn placard of a weeping planet under a halo of heat said:
I am here to raise awareness. There’s not much time left. This is global. People need to be informed and they need to act now.
Maria Makarem, the 16-year-old who had helped organise the strike said the protesters had ended up in front of the parliament to ram home the message that urgent times call for urgent measures.
“They have to understand, all the politicians in there, that we are the new generation and we want change,” she said, her own placard proclaiming: “Our world, our future, our choice.”
Yiannis Marangakis and Foivos Anastadiades, both aged 10 and both taken out of class by their mothers Daniella and Myrtia to attend the protest, had an even simpler message: “The earth is very important to us. We have to save it.”
This shows the scale of the march in Edinburgh:
The Edinburgh climate march is loooooooooong! I didn’t get anywhere near the end. #schoolstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/kIatZ2Pm6V
Ian Mantgani, 36, is striking in London today. He says:
We have to put pressure on our employers, MPs and friends. We need a new power grid and electric cars on the road or we’re toast. Keep pressuring those in power for concrete change and keep pressuring them when they give you mealy mouthed answers. I believe that’s the best way forward for change.”We have to put pressure on our employers, MPs and friends. We need a new power grid and electric cars on the road or we’re toast. Keep pressuring those in power for concrete change and keep pressuring them when they give you mealy mouthed answers. I believe that’s the best way forward for change.”
Chris from South Africa asked:Chris from South Africa asked:
Why are we not seeing a rise in sea levels? Could it perhaps partly be due to the fact that rainfall across the SAHEL region that is rapidly greening is 40m olympic swimming pools up on a few years ago?Why are we not seeing a rise in sea levels? Could it perhaps partly be due to the fact that rainfall across the SAHEL region that is rapidly greening is 40m olympic swimming pools up on a few years ago?
We are seeing a rise in sea levels. And sea levels alone are not the biggest problem: storm and tidal surges are much worse when sea levels are even slightly higher, with the power to overtop our sea defences.We are seeing a rise in sea levels. And sea levels alone are not the biggest problem: storm and tidal surges are much worse when sea levels are even slightly higher, with the power to overtop our sea defences.
Desertification is increasing in many parts of Africa, with climate change one of the reasons but not the only one (overgrazing and land use changes also play a major role).Desertification is increasing in many parts of Africa, with climate change one of the reasons but not the only one (overgrazing and land use changes also play a major role).
Artur from Crewe asked:Artur from Crewe asked:
Are we prepared to do real things to tackle climate change? We can say do this or do that but our use of social media takes significant resources. The cheap food, cheap technology, new mobiles released every year is driven by customers not the other way around so how many are actually genuinely prepared to change their way of life?Are we prepared to do real things to tackle climate change? We can say do this or do that but our use of social media takes significant resources. The cheap food, cheap technology, new mobiles released every year is driven by customers not the other way around so how many are actually genuinely prepared to change their way of life?
People are increasingly understanding that lifestyle changes are necessary, from veganism and flexitarian diets to changing our travel habits. Renewable energy such as wind and solar is already cheaper or on a par with fossil fuels in many areas, and its deployment is increasing fast.People are increasingly understanding that lifestyle changes are necessary, from veganism and flexitarian diets to changing our travel habits. Renewable energy such as wind and solar is already cheaper or on a par with fossil fuels in many areas, and its deployment is increasing fast.
A Guardian reader from London who wanted to remain anonymous asked:A Guardian reader from London who wanted to remain anonymous asked:
How democratic is it that a secondary school threatens their pupils with being expelled if they participate in today’s strike? How are we teaching ‘British values’ to our kids if in their school are not allowed to protest for something that fully impacts their future? What will it be next? Forbid them to participate in any human rights support act?How democratic is it that a secondary school threatens their pupils with being expelled if they participate in today’s strike? How are we teaching ‘British values’ to our kids if in their school are not allowed to protest for something that fully impacts their future? What will it be next? Forbid them to participate in any human rights support act?
Schools will make their own judgment, but engaging children with a subject of huge importance in scientific, political and historical terms might strike many teachers as a great opportunity. The climate emergency relates to chemistry, physics, biology, geography, history, social studies – you could probably even fit it into a load of other lessons too. Why not see this as an opportunity to engage pupils rather than turn them off?Schools will make their own judgment, but engaging children with a subject of huge importance in scientific, political and historical terms might strike many teachers as a great opportunity. The climate emergency relates to chemistry, physics, biology, geography, history, social studies – you could probably even fit it into a load of other lessons too. Why not see this as an opportunity to engage pupils rather than turn them off?
Derek from West Sussex asked:Derek from West Sussex asked:
The UK has a good record of deploying offshore wind generation. What I don’t understand is why we aren’t deploying wave power and tidal power generation? We have the most coastline per head of any major European country. Wave power never stops, unlike wind, it is more energy dense than wind, and it could have other benefits like reducing coastal erosion.The UK has a good record of deploying offshore wind generation. What I don’t understand is why we aren’t deploying wave power and tidal power generation? We have the most coastline per head of any major European country. Wave power never stops, unlike wind, it is more energy dense than wind, and it could have other benefits like reducing coastal erosion.
Tidal power solutions likewise are always available and energy dense. There is an ecological cost in habitats but a balance is needed here. Do we really think that the ecological cost of a tidal barrier is worse than a nuclear power station? There is an ecological cost to farmland too, but we need to eat, so we cut down all the forests we had in medieval times to make room for agriculture. We just need to make some room for power generation too.Tidal power solutions likewise are always available and energy dense. There is an ecological cost in habitats but a balance is needed here. Do we really think that the ecological cost of a tidal barrier is worse than a nuclear power station? There is an ecological cost to farmland too, but we need to eat, so we cut down all the forests we had in medieval times to make room for agriculture. We just need to make some room for power generation too.
The UK is a world leader on offshore wind, as the latest green power auctions show. Wave and tidal power have proved more difficult, in the latter case partly owing to the changes that would be required to landscape a tidal lagoon. But as public subsidy is less needed for wind and solar as prices have come down, it might become possible to spend more of it on wave and tidal power – they may prove cheaper than the high costs agreed to by the government for nuclear energy.The UK is a world leader on offshore wind, as the latest green power auctions show. Wave and tidal power have proved more difficult, in the latter case partly owing to the changes that would be required to landscape a tidal lagoon. But as public subsidy is less needed for wind and solar as prices have come down, it might become possible to spend more of it on wave and tidal power – they may prove cheaper than the high costs agreed to by the government for nuclear energy.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, received a warm applause at the city’s climate protest when he gave a speech pledging that “fracking is the past, it is not the future” – but by far the biggest cheers went to a 10-year-old girl called Lillia who took to the stage next.The local schoolgirl, with a high-pitched Mancunian accent and fluorescent ear-defenders tied to her backpack, gave a rousing speech taking aim at politicians for their “lies” – before turning directly to Burnham.The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, received a warm applause at the city’s climate protest when he gave a speech pledging that “fracking is the past, it is not the future” – but by far the biggest cheers went to a 10-year-old girl called Lillia who took to the stage next.The local schoolgirl, with a high-pitched Mancunian accent and fluorescent ear-defenders tied to her backpack, gave a rousing speech taking aim at politicians for their “lies” – before turning directly to Burnham.
Lies, when you don’t count the airport in the emission figures! Lies, when we have 1,200 air pollution related deaths in Manchester just last year – but they plan to build a huge car park right next door to a school in Ancoats.Lies, when you don’t count the airport in the emission figures! Lies, when we have 1,200 air pollution related deaths in Manchester just last year – but they plan to build a huge car park right next door to a school in Ancoats.
Lies when the pension funds of Manchester are still investing £1.4bn in fossil fuel companies … Lies, in April the mayor Andy Burnham, when I asked if he would support us. I asked for more than publicity stunt pictures. Where’s the action?Lies when the pension funds of Manchester are still investing £1.4bn in fossil fuel companies … Lies, in April the mayor Andy Burnham, when I asked if he would support us. I asked for more than publicity stunt pictures. Where’s the action?
To huge cheers, she continued:To huge cheers, she continued:
Today I woke up to the images around the world of a million people striking and my heart lifted because I knew we weren’t alone in our fight. Thank you for coming out to support us. Thank you for having the courage to fight for our future!Today I woke up to the images around the world of a million people striking and my heart lifted because I knew we weren’t alone in our fight. Thank you for coming out to support us. Thank you for having the courage to fight for our future!
To adults I say, you have the power to vote you need to keep amplifying our voices. We the youth cannot wait until we are old enough - we need action now.To adults I say, you have the power to vote you need to keep amplifying our voices. We the youth cannot wait until we are old enough - we need action now.
Greater Manchester mayor @AndyBurnhamGM addresses climate protest: “My generation has failed you - and I include myself in that”. Loud cheer greets his declaration that “fracking is the past - it does not belong in the future.” pic.twitter.com/QeQqrUpAE4Greater Manchester mayor @AndyBurnhamGM addresses climate protest: “My generation has failed you - and I include myself in that”. Loud cheer greets his declaration that “fracking is the past - it does not belong in the future.” pic.twitter.com/QeQqrUpAE4
Numbers at Berlin‘s Klimastreik have reached 100,000, it has just been announced.Numbers at Berlin‘s Klimastreik have reached 100,000, it has just been announced.
Carola Rackete, the SeaWatch Captain who was arrested in Italy several weeks ago addressed Berlin’s Klimastreik, to huge applause.Carola Rackete, the SeaWatch Captain who was arrested in Italy several weeks ago addressed Berlin’s Klimastreik, to huge applause.
She told them:She told them:
We adults are responsible for the fact that the Earth is dying ... we should not be under the illusion that our individual actions can ... turn the situation around.We adults are responsible for the fact that the Earth is dying ... we should not be under the illusion that our individual actions can ... turn the situation around.
She paid tribute to “the children and young people who have campaigned tirelessly for over a year ... and managed to get this issue to the top of the political agenda”.She paid tribute to “the children and young people who have campaigned tirelessly for over a year ... and managed to get this issue to the top of the political agenda”.
She said temperatures could be expected to rise by 4-6C by the end of the century. Extinction Rebellion, to which she belongs, was telling the truth when it predicted the collapse of human civilisation as a result. We can no longer stop global heating, she said, “it’s too late”, but we can “reduce greenhouse gases with immediate effect”.She said temperatures could be expected to rise by 4-6C by the end of the century. Extinction Rebellion, to which she belongs, was telling the truth when it predicted the collapse of human civilisation as a result. We can no longer stop global heating, she said, “it’s too late”, but we can “reduce greenhouse gases with immediate effect”.
Sarah from Cardiff asked:
What are the advantages people will see and experience through the changes we need to make due to climate change? For example, I believe cycling rather than driving will make people healthier, shopping locally rather than online increases daily interactions. Do you envisage the activists and media managing to put this side of the crisis across?
Cleaning up greenhouse gases has a myriad of beneficial side effects, including cleaner air as diesel and petrol cars are taken off the roads in favour of electric vehicles, public transport and walking or cycling. Our knowledge of the harms of air pollution has expanded dramatically in the past few years: we now know air pollutants can be found in all human organs, and it is linked not only to respiratory problems and heart disease but also dementia, developmental problems and miscarriage.
In some ways, the cleaning up of air pollution is easier to explain than climate chaos because people can see and feel air pollution more clearly than the link between invisible carbon dioxide and extreme weather, and increasingly air pollution campaigners are making the link with climate benefits from moving away from coal and diesel in particular.
Louis from London asked:
Today is wonderful to see - the energy and passion - but how can you be sure we haven’t left it too late ? There is a climate doomosphere - I’m thinking Paul Beckwith, Peter Wadhams and others who suggest overwhelming events in the next decade or two. Can they be dismissed as fringe cranks?
Climate change is a problem for today, not the distant future, and the effects are already being seen, as we have extensively reported. But there is still time to stave off the worst effects if we take action on emissions now.
The IPCC has said emissions must be effectively zero by around mid-century to hold the world to no more than 1.5C of warning, and every effort to bring down emissions helps towards that goal. But there are scary things we know less about: tipping points, which could cause runaway heating to take hold. These include Arctic sea ice melt, which reveals dark sea instead of reflective ice, creating more warming, and the melting permafrost that releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, in a vicious circle.
Some have suggested we turn our efforts to adapting to climate change instead of cutting emissions. But adapting without cutting emissions is like trying to mop up an overflowing sink with the taps still running. The truth is we need to do both, and urgently.
You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.
Just to stand back from the breathless enthusiasm of the protests for a moment, our environment editor, Damian Carrington, has been pulling out a series of charts that highlight the scale of the challenge - and the beginnings of some solutions.
Perhaps the most important one is this: the planet’s average temperature started a steady climb two centuries ago, but has rocketed since the second world war as consumption and population has risen. Global heating means there is more energy in the atmosphere, making extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.
We have also tried to capture this alarming rise in temperatures in a startling piece of music. Alas, it is not a banger, so is unlikely to become a global anthem for the Friday strikes movement.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. The three charts below show the progress we have made, in renewable energy generation, electric vehicle production, and battery development.
Today’s climate strikes highlight a crucial fact: that our actions in the next few years will decide the world’s future, and whether we can avoid the worst ravages of global heating or succumb to climate chaos.
We must effectively eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and nurture the natural world enough to absorb the remainder, by mid-century to avoid a future of catastrophic and irreversible climate chaos. Extreme weather is already driving 2 million people a week to seek humanitarian aid, and that is set to rise to 150 million in the next decade alone.
The Guardian will try to answer your questions on the climate strikes and the forces shaping them. You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.
Guardian environment journalist Fiona Harvey will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the climate crisis between 1.30pm and 2.30pm BST.
You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.
The ⁦⁦@guardian⁩ office at 12:28pm today #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/HbEQNwldvP
The US is set to stage its largest ever day of protest over the climate crisis, with tens of thousands of students set to be joined by adults in abandoning schools and workplaces for a wave of strikes across the country.
Climate strikes will take place in more than 1,000 locations, with major rallies in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.
The young strikers’ totemic figure, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, will take part in the New York walkout and will speak to massed protesters in Manhattan.
Authorities in New York City have announced that its student population of 1.1 million is allowed to skip school in order to attend the strikes.
Dozens of companies, including Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s, will support striking staff, with major unions also backing the walkouts.
Dulce Belen Ceballos Arias, an 18-year-old from San Francisco, said she will be striking because “I want children of my own and I want them to have a better life than me. I don’t want that to be taken away by climate change.”
Students in Boston will also be excused school, with a crowd of 10,000 expected to assemble. “We are excited to disrupt business as usual, to demand a Green New Deal,” said Audrey Maurine Xin Lin, an 18-year-old organizer in Boston, in reference to the resolution put forward by progressive Democrats to enact a second world war-style mobilization to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
A big difference on today’s march in London is the presence of trade union activists alongside young people and their parents, writes Guardian environment correspondent Matthew Taylor,
Graham Petersen, from the UCU lecturers’ union and member of the green jobs alliance, said unions had to take a lead in the climate fight.
This is going to be the defining issue for future generations and if we are not involved now how are we going to be relevant to the young people here today when they go into work.
Trade unions around the world are backing today’s protests and Petersen said it was “about time” they engaged in the climate crisis.
In the UK it is difficult because people have their hands full with austerity and precarious jobs but unions are starting to realise that if we get the climate justice policies right we can tackle not just the climate but also a wider social justice issues.
Trade unionists join today’s climate march in London.“This is going to be the defining issue for future generations and if we are not involved now how are we going to be relevant to the young people here today.” pic.twitter.com/JtxKByvwfc
Lois Borny has been speaking to young people on the London march, including student Noemie, who told her:
It’s depressing knowing you’re waking up to not such a bright future. The climate crisis has always been in the back of my mind, but I always used to be a bit of a pessimist ... now that the movement has gained traction you get the feeling that you can change something.
When asked what she thinks about the fact children are leading the movement she says:
It almost seems like a game for them [the politicians]. They aren’t taking it seriously. This isn’t for fun or just for the sake of it. It’s real and urgent.
It is Nazreen’s first day in London, having arrived from Malaysia yesterday. The 22-year-old, who is studying political philosophy, said:
I’m happy this is happening because at home we have a big haze problem, because of forests being burned in Borneo.
Nazreen says that if we were in Borneo, from where we are standing (by the stage) the Houses of Parliament would be unrecognisable from the haze.
Borneo is burning. It has one of the oldest rainforest in the world and half of it is gone. We are really proud of our rainforests, but what is there to be proud of when it is gone?
He says that it is good children are leading the movement, because it is allowing them to see “what is happening in the real world”.
A small but noisy crowd gathered in the financial district of Sandton in Johannesburg, outside the offices of Sasol, a huge South African energy and chemical company.
Natalie Kapsosideris, 16, said:
We don’t really have a way out of this. The future looks really dismal at this point. There’s not going to be a lot of food available, there will be droughts, floods, natural disasters. The fact that Sasol gets away with stealing our future from us ... and it’s all because they want to make money.
Tariro Banganayi, 18, a student at Sacred Heart college, said:
It’s important that I lend my voice to this cause ... a lot of people who aren’t as privileged as I am don’t have the opportunity to speak out against these sorts of issues, who live where the air is unbreathable, where toxic waste is dumped in rivers, those people don’t have a voice to speak out ... Also I am here to educate people about these issues and to get as much information from as many different places as I can ... I am going to try to diversify the way that I raise awareness ... I am going to use my social media a lot more effectively, I am going to centre my conversations with my friends, I am going to bring it up at the dinner table with my family ... because if every person tells one person then we can tell everybody.
Crowds of students in Delhi are blocking the road near to Lodhi Gardens, chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice.” “You can’t run away from climate change,” reads one sign.
Delhi is one of 21 cities predicted to run out of groundwater by 2020, according to the Indian government’s policy thinktank, Niti Aayog.
It is also one of the most polluted cities in the world.“The lungs of an 11 year old have black spots on them,” Shivam, a law student, says. “This is why we have to change things now.”
In Exeter, the protest is in full swing. Leon Hayton-Twigg, 11, (pictured below with his brother Lucas and his friend Ossian Finn, 10) says: “We have come here to show the people there’s a problem and we want it to stop.”
More of the protest signs from the Exeter strikes ...