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'No Planet B': Thousands join global youth demo for climate

'No Planet B': Thousands join global youth demo for climate

2019/03/15 | 17:35

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Tens of thousands of young people skipped school across the

globe on Friday and marched through the streets on a global day of student

protests aiming to push world leaders into action on climate change, AFP reported.Classrooms in capitals from Bangkok to Berlin, Lagos to

London were expected to be empty, as the ambitious organizers of the student

strike hoped to stage 1,000 demos in more than 100 countries.Students flooded into the streets across Europe and Asia

carrying placards that read "There is no planet B", "You're

destroying our future" and "If you don't act like adults, we

will."Despite 30 years of warnings about dire impacts, carbon

dioxide emissions hit record levels in 2017 and again last year.Loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases at current

rates, scientists agree, will eventually lead to an uninhabitable planet.In Stockholm, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, who

inspired the protests, was thronged by journalists and several dozen

protesters, one carrying a banner declaring "Make the Climate Greta

Again"."I don't think I was really behind this movement, I

think it was already there and just needed a spark to light up," she told

Swedish public television station SVT."We are living through an existential crisis that has

been ignored for decades and if we do not act now it may be too late,"

said Thunberg, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her

activism.In Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities, 200

students took part in a colorful protest, waving ribbons, juggling and

performing stunts with hoops."We have to make a choice whether we want to sit and be

indifferent or do something for our planet," said 16-year-old student

Srijani Datta, who also issued a warning to the world's politicians."Most of us are 16-17 and we are going to turn 18 soon.

We are going to be eligible for voting. As voters we will show we care about

climate change. If you can't give us that (fresh air and water), you will not

get our votes."In Sydney, 18-year-old Charles Rickwood, warned that if

nothing is done, Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef could be destroyed."Especially if current trends in the environment

continue, we'll see the one, two degrees increase in our ocean then it will

simply become unsustainable and we could lose the entire Great Barrier

Reef," he told AFP.'The youth are rising up'However, the demos attracted mixed reactions from

politicians.In Australia, Education Minister Dan Tehan said the strike

was "not something that we should encourage."And Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said students

should be in school – even as crowds of youngsters took to the streets across

the country."Climate now, school later," said one placard. "I

believe more in unicorns than in the will of politicians to save the

planet," said another.However, the budding activists received encouragement from

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said it was important for the

young generation to send a message."We hear you and we're getting on with setting a path

for carbon neutrality," the 38-year-old leader said in a statement."Please keep bringing as many people as you can with

you because we simply won't achieve our goals alone."In famously hard-working South Korea, demonstrations only

began once lessons finished for the day."It's hard for students to skip school in order to

participate in this climate strike," said organizer Jeong Juwon, 25."In South Korea, exam results are very important and

it's a big burden, and also the unemployment crisis is at its worst."In the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, students

circulated a petition to be submitted to the government demanding concrete

measures to tackle climate change."The planet is heating up, the youth are rising

up," they chanted.'Slacktivists'Wellington university student Josie Mason, 20, said she was

"excited by the fact that youth are being heard and are making a stand

right now.""They call our generation the 'slacktivists' because

it's really easy to say you're going to an event on a Facebook page or like

something but not really do anything," she said.The Paris treaty calls for capping global warming at

"well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) but the

planet is currently on track to heat up by double that figure.The UN's climate science panel warned in October that only a

wholesale transformation of the global economy and consumer habits could

forestall a catastrophe.In Hong Kong, activists dressed up as polar bears and sharks

to highlight the damage done to the environment by climate change."The main thing we want people to realize is that we

are not only asking the Hong Kong government to do more, it is also people

themselves who need to do more," said Zara Campion, 17, co-organizer of

the strike.Delhi resident Shagun Kumari, 13, told AFP, "My eyes

hurt from pollution. My shirt gets dirty from dust. I want fresh air that won't

harm my lungs and clean water to drink so that I don't keep falling sick."Fellow Indian protester Datta noted, "If the children

and youth don't care then in a country like India you can't make this

happen."











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