THOUSANDS of school pupils across the world are set to walkout of lessons on Friday to protest for action on climate change, all thanks to a 16-year-old Swedish activist.
Students in at least 71 countries are set to skip school and demonstrate in Spain, Britain and elsewhere for the Strike for Climate Action.
Their efforts are inspired by Greta Thunberg, who dubbed the efforts Fridays for Future. The 16-year-old’s one girl school walkouts and sit ins outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm from last August onwards have since spawned a global movement.
Thunberg rose to international fame when she addressed world leaders, businesspeople and NGO heads at the Katowice conference on climate change in Poland in December.
“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that you leave to us children,” she told those present.
“Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.
“Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few,” Thunberg said.
The 16-year-old, who is autistic and selectively mute, added there would be no hope for tackling climate change as long as leaders only focussed on what was “political possible”.
“We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.
“Change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people,” Thunberg said.
The strikes come as NGOs and environmental groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Ecowatch continue to warn of catastrophic consequences if global emissions remain unchanged.