Over 1.5 million young students across all continents took to the streets on Friday March 15th for the first ever global climate strike. Messages in more than 40 languages were loud and clear: world leaders must act now to address the climate crisis and save our future. The school strike was the largest climate action in history. Nevertheless it went almost unmentioned in the media.
Here are some of the statements by the students explaining why they took part in the strikes:
“In India, no one talks about climate change. You don’t see it on the news or in the papers or hear about it from government. We want global leaders to declare a climate emergency. If we don’t act today, then we will have no tomorrow. ” – Vidit Baya, 17, Udaipur, India.
“We face heartbreaking loss due to increasingly extreme weather events. We urge the Taiwanese government to implement mitigation measures and face up to the vulnerability of indigenous people, halt construction projects in the indigenous traditional realm, and recognise the legal status of Plains
Indigenous People, in order to implement environmental protection as a bottom-up approach” – Kaisanan Ahuan, Puli City, Taiwan.
“We have reached a point in history when we have the technical capacities to solve poverty, malnutrition, inequality and of course global warming. The deciding factors for whether we take advantage of our potential will be our activism, our international unity and our ability to develop the art of making the impossible possible. Whether we succeed or not depends on our political will” – Eyal Weintraub, 18, and Bruno Rodriguez, 18, Argentina.
“I want to be certain that our government is committed to investing in a just transition to a more sustainable country, that we will lower carbon emissions and curb climate change. I am joining this strike to demand that decisions are more future-focused and that policy will reflect our environmental rights as written in our constitution” – Dona Van Eeden, 21, Cape Town, South Africa.
“The damage done by multinationals is enormous: the lack of transparency, dubious contracts, the weakening of the soil, the destruction of flora and fauna, the lack of respect for mining codes, the contamination of groundwater. In Mali, the state exercises insufficient control over the practices of the multinationals, and it is us, the citizens, who suffer the consequences. The climate alarm has sounded, and the time has come for us all to realise that there is still time to act locally, in our homes, our villages, our cities” – Mone Fousseny, 22, Mali.
“The governments failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of our climate crisis. Our generation, the least responsible for the acts of the polluters, will be the ones to see the most devastating impacts of climate change. World leaders are losing the window to act, but we are not going to stand still watching their inertia.” Greta Thunberg, Sweden
Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who started a worldwide children’s climate movement last summer with her lone school strike in front of the Swedish Parliament, is now a leader of the global movement for climate change. Her eloquent and crystal-clear speeches at COP24 in Poland in 2018, at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland in 2019, and at the recent European Union’s climate meeting in Belgium, have produced real change. For example, influenced by Greta’s speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that “In the next financial period, 2021-2027, every fourth euro spent in the EU budget will go towards climate mitigation actions”. The EU budget is usually 1 percent of its economic output, or 1 trillion euros across seven years.
The three Norwegian parliamentarians who nominated Greta Thunberg for the Nobel Peace Prize cited the connection between climate change, the refugee crisis and threatened wars. Like the global school strikes of March 15, Greta’s nomination receives little mention, not only in mainstream media, but also in alternative media.
Attention has been distracted by the attrocious murders in New Zealand
The almost simultaneous neofacist and racist murders in New Zealand have distracted media attention from the children’s global school strike for climate action. But while combatting racism and neofacism is important, it is much less important than the urgent need for rapid action on the issue of climate change, without which the entire future of human civilization and the biosphere will be lost. We give our children loving care, but it makes no sense to do so and not do everything within our power to give them a future in which they can survive. The media have a duty to help in mobilizing public opinion for the great task that history has given to us – the task of saving the future.
Some discussion of these issues can be found in my new book, entitled “Saving the Future”, which may be downloaded from the following link:
John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. During his tenure The Pugwash Movement won a nobel peace prize. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988-1997).