Thousands of young people protest around the world to demand that governments act against climate change
Governments around the world meet every year at the COP Climate Conference to analyse the evolution of climate change and discuss measures to reduce global warming.
Even so, despite all the negotiations, the agreements are taking too long to put into practice: there are countries that put economic interests before the environment, others that deny that climate change exists, and others that do not have the resources to adopt more sustainable policies…
Tired of waiting, thousands of students from different countries have begun to protest, demanding that governments act quickly.
"When we talk about the climate crisis, we're talking about human rights," says an Argentinian climate strike leader.
— Jamie Henn (@Agent350) December 13, 2019
Young people from all over the world have joined the student strike for the climate, started by Greta Thunberg. The goal is to pressure political leaders and make it clear that young people are aware of climate change.
In Belgium, for example, students are protesting every Thursday for a month to demand urgent measures from the government. On 31 January, more than 12,000 students in Brussels and another 10,000 in Liège responded to the Youth for Climate call.
The example of Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish teenager and climate change activist.
The summer of 2018 was the hottest in the history in Sweden, further proof of the effects of global warming. To draw attention to this fact, Greta began to miss class on Fridays: she sat in front of the Swedish Parliament with a sign that read “On a school strike because of the climate“.
Collins Dictionary named "climate strike" its Word of the Year.
– The term originated in 2015, it says
– But it really took off with Greta Thunberg's protests
– 6 million people joined her climate strike in September pic.twitter.com/iEnqFYdgtl
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 7, 2019
Greta’s story caught the attention of passers-by, some Swedish politicians, and ended up in the media. And her protest went viral with the hashtag #ClimateStrike.
This led the organisers of COP24 in Katowice (Poland) to invite her to participate in the summit, where she delivered a very strong speech in which she warned politicians: “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future.”
Greta also participated in the World Economic Forum 2019, one of the main gatherings of world leaders. On this occasion, the young activist raised the need to act urgently if we want to prevent climate change from being irreversible.
The slowness of diplomacy
Governments from around the world meet every year at the COP, the Climate Summit organised by the United Nations. Political leaders discuss measures and objectives to stop global warming.
However, decision making is slow because each country has its own interests and limited available resources. There are rich countries that want pollutant emissions to be limited worldwide, without taking into account that poor countries need to continue developing their economies to maintain themselves.
In addition, a large part of the pollution that affects our planet today was caused by the activity of rich countries during the twentieth century. That is why developing countries think it’s unfair that they have to give up growing when others have already grown.
The problem is that, if we don’t agree to act all together, in the end, it will be too late for the planet.