School Strike for Climate

Earth’s climate is now changing faster than ever before in the history of our existence. This is mainly due to human activities and the consequences of climate change are already here. The rising temperatures and sea levels, shifting weather patterns which have affected food production and a number of health problems. These problems will keep increasing with each passing day. 50 years down the line, today’s young generation will have grown old and the children will be adults. We are putting the future of the upcoming generations in jeopardy by not taking it seriously. This has been realised by the younger generations and hence they have started taking actions. The school strike for the climate is an international movement of school students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish activist who began protesting outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 about the need for immediate action to combat climate change. Her school strike for the climate began attracting media attention and since then she became an outspoken climate activist. In response to the publicity, the school strike for climate movement began in November 2018 and spread globally the same year. Tens of thousands of school children and students in more than 100 countries put down their books and went on strike demanding immediate action for Climate change.

It is accepted by the vast majority of scientists that the greenhouse effect is much increased by the emission of vast amounts of carbon dioxide and some other gases by human activities. In the historical past the greenhouse effect, driven by volcanic and microbial carbon dioxide emission, prevented the earth from being permanently encased in ice, but since humanity industrialized, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased and is causing ever more harmful global warming and climate change. A 2019 statement by over 12000 scientists says that "Young people’s concerns are justified and supported by the best available science". On 31 January 2019, more than 3400 scientists and academics signed an open letter in support of the school strikes in Belgium. The letter reads "Based on the facts supplied by climate science, the campaigners are right. That is why we, as scientists, support them." This was followed by an open letter in support of the school strikes in the Netherlands, signed by 340 scientists, and by 1200 researchers in Finland signing a letter, on 11 March 2019, supporting the strikes.

But the sad truth is that the adults in positions of authority, in the form of fossil fuel corporations and global governments, are seen as being responsible for large carbon dioxide emissions and doing far too little to reduce them. If we keep ignoring the climate emergency today, the impacts will continue to intensify and grow more costly and damaging tomorrow.

Ishani Mehta,

Programme Assistant