Students are preparing to stage a second nationwide walkout on Friday as part of a global day of “youth strike” action urging leaders to tackle climate change.
Organisers of the UK Youth Strike 4 Climate movement say events will take place in more than 100 towns and cities from Penzance to Aberdeen, driven by what students say is “an alarming lack of government leadership on climate action”.
They say they expect attendances to be larger than the first UK strike on 15th February, which saw thousands of students and young people defy school leaders and politicians to ditch lessons and lectures for demonstrations.
The strikes, inspired by teenager Greta Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden’s parliament to urge leaders to tackle climate change, are part of a global day of action in more than 90 countries from Australia to the US.
They come in the wake of a UN report which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.
That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years.
Students in the UK are demanding the Government declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis to the public, and reform the curriculum to make it an educational priority.
Anna Taylor, 17, co-founder of the UK Student Climate Network, said: “Young people in the UK have shown that we’re angry at the lack of government leadership on climate change.
“Those in power are not only betraying us, and taking away our future, but are responsible for the climate crisis that’s unfolding in horrendous ways around the world.
“The UK has been relatively shielded from the effects of the crisis so far, but those least responsible for contributing to climate change are already suffering the worst effects.
“It is our duty to not only act for those in the UK and our futures, but for everyone. That’s what climate justice means.”
George Bond, 16, of the UK Student Climate Network, said: “It really is time that the Government, irrespective of whoever is in power stands up, put up their hands and admit that they severely failed to address the climate crisis so far.
“The scientists have been telling governments, policymakers and big business that we need to realign all sectors of the economy along environmental principles, yet they’ve been dragging their heels and now we’re left to pick up the pieces.”
Some politicians and school leaders criticised young people for taking part in the education strike on 15th February, but their action was backed by other MPs, academics and environmental campaigners.
Picture: Thousands of primary school children, teenagers and university students gathered in the streets of central London on 15th February to protest against climate change and urge the government to take action. The global movement has been inspired by teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has been skipping school every Friday since August to protest outside the Swedish parliament. (SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA).