World’s youth rally against cli­mate change

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

BRUS­SELS: United un­der Swedish ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg, young peo­ple ral­lied across the world yes­ter­day to de­mand ur­gent ac­tion to halt cat­a­strophic cli­mate change, in their first global ac­tion dur­ing the coronaviru­s pan­demic.

With wild weather wreak­ing havoc across the world — from fires rav­aging the US West, to ab­nor­mal heat­waves in the Siberian Arc­tic and record floods in China — or­gan­is­ers said the protests would re­mind politi­cians that while the world was fo­cused on Covid-19, the cli­mate cri­sis has not gone away.

Demon­stra­tions were planned in more than 3,100 lo­ca­tions, with Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and Fiji among the first to kick off, al­though with pan­demic-re­lated curbs lim­it­ing the size of gath­er­ings, much of the ac­tion shifted on­line.

In Stock­holm, Thun­berg and a hand­ful of mem­bers of her group, Fri­days for Fu­ture, as­sem­bled out­side par­lia­ment.

She tweeted that the strik­ers would “be back next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes”.

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a 22-year-old Fri­days for Fu­ture ac­tivist in the Philip­pines, said her govern­ment was fail­ing to pro­tect peo­ple from both cli­mate change and Covid-19.

“With the Covid-19 cri­sis, we’ve re­ally been forced to see how dis­pro­por­tion­ate the im­pacts of any cri­sis is,” she said.

“They are still pri­ori­tis­ing the rich over the poor; they are still not lis­ten­ing to the sci­ence.”

In Aus­tralia, thou­sands of stu­dents took part in about 500 small gath­er­ings and on­line protests, to de­mand in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­ergy and op­pose fund­ing for gas projects.

Or­gan­is­ers asked peo­ple to post pic­tures on so­cial me­dia and join a 24-hour global Zoom call, while those tak­ing to the streets were urged to fol­low lo­cal guide­lines on the size of gath­er­ings and so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

The demon­stra­tions come a year af­ter two mam­moth global strikes saw more than six mil­lion peo­ple pour on to the streets, in what or­gan­is­ers said was the big­gest cli­mate mo­bil­i­sa­tion in history.

REUTERS

Cli­mate change ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg protests in front of the Swedish Par­lia­ment in Stock­holm yes­ter­day.

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