Students missed school today to line the streets of London, Rome, Vienna and Sydney with placards declaring “education is important but climate change is more important”. One pupil in Wellington, New Zealand, made a sign saying “climate change is worse than Voldemort”, in reference to the evil wizard in the popular Harry Potter books and films. The global strike was inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who decided last August she was going to miss school on Fridays and picket outside the Rikstag, otherwise known as the Swedish parliament, to raise awareness about global warming instead.
She spoke at a Stockholm demonstration today, amid protests being held in 100 other Swedish towns.
Ms Thunberg said: “We have only been born into this world, we are going to have to live with this crisis our whole lives.
“So will our children and grandchildren and coming generations.
“We are not going to accept this. We are striking because we want a future and we are going to carry on.”
The teenager began her mission to pressure the Swedish Government to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
The 2015 Paris climate conference pledged to keep increase in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (35 F) above pre-industrial levels requires a radical cutback in use of coal and fossil fuels.
This came after scientists warned fossil fuels let off greenhouse gases that trap heat and make global temperatures rise.
This leads to an increase in flooding, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
Now students in other countries are hoping their governments will listen to their fears about the “climate catastrophe”.
In Seoul, more than 100 students held recycled cardboard signs with slogans like “Too Warm 4 School” and “Don’t deny climate change”.
Over in Singapore, young people planned a virtual campaign on social media, as there are strict laws that regulate public assembly
The student-led action has been supported by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has pledged NZ$100 million to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
But politicians in Britain and Australia have criticised the teenagers for missing school.
Dan Tehan, Australia’s education minister, said: “For action on issues that they think is important, they should do that after school or on weekends.”