Global school strike on Friday 15 March calls for more urgent, radical and decisive climate action by political leaders in 123 countries
According to the student-driven movement, Fridays For Future, today, 15 March 2019, is a global day of action when schoolchildren and young people are expected to strike from school in 2052 towns and cities around the world. This is their response to frustrations of inadequate response to tackle the escalating ecological crisis. They demand radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and for more action on climate change. The inspiration is Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old who went on school strike outside the Swedish parliament in August last year. Thirty-three events are due in the UK today after the first YouthStrike4Climate event last month was supported by Christiana Figueres, former United Nations’ (UN) climate chief, saying, “It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of the youth. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but its timely implementation is key.” The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in October last year, alerts us that we have no more than 12 years to get off the path towards the worst effects of global warming. The report shows that it can be done, and outlines how.
In all four pathways to achieve success, reforestation is essential in all of them, as well as shifts to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology. This includes cutting carbon pollution by 45 % before 2030, and reaching zero carbon pollution by 2050. “The final tick box is political will”, said Jim Skea, a co-chair of the working group on mitigation. In Germany, the government has pledged to phase out coal use within 20 years, and last year in the UK, only 5 % of electricity generation was from coal. Today we have a great opportunity in our hands for the rapid transition to a clean, sustainable economy. Skea also said that although great progress has been made in the adoption of renewable energy, deforestation for agriculture has been turning a natural carbon sink into a source of emissions. We must therefore, reverse this degradation so our lands, soils and forests are more productive and absorb more carbon dioxide. In this light, global farmland use could be reduced by 75 % – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – if we avoid consumption of meat and dairy, potentially restoring rich, healthy natural landscapes (and still feeding the world). Nathan Roberts, founder of Why Conserve said, “Greta, a single youth, has remarkably inspired a global movement calling for greater climate action all around the world. This is an incredible feat that has already got people out and about doing something, and I hope this will mobilise positive, effective, and urgent action amongst all generations, as individuals and decision makers.” A map of events can be found at www.fridaysforfuture.org and if you are on social media, search #ClimateStrike and #FridaysForFuture.
Thanks, Greta. Now I would like to…