Last week pupils and students from across the country took their protest about climate inaction to the streets of the nation for a second time – and MFM was there with them.
As part of the Global Youth Strike movement, Britain’s young people took a second day off school in as many months on Friday 15 March, fed up waiting for their leaders to act on the greatest global issue of the day: our warming climate, and humanity’s role in turning up the heat.
Meat Free Monday joined the protesters in Parliament Square, to show solidarity with children across the world who are striking for their future and the future of the planet. Young supporters got the meat free message out with an array of placards with slogans including “Eat kind”, “Try Meat Free Monday and take it from there” and “Less meat less heat”.
The Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstration was billed as the biggest youth-led climate justice movement in British history, and it certainly felt that way: about 50,000 schoolchildren and students in 150 towns and cities took part, in a growing display of strength. Last month’s inaugural nationwide strike was supported by more than 10,000 kids, part of a growing movement facing up to the challenges of climate change.
As part of a co-ordinated international day of action, more than 1.4 million youngsters walked out of classrooms around the world to make their point, with strikes in 2,233 strikes towns and cities in 128 countries, according to organisers. Inspired by the work of a single activist, Greta Thunberg, 16, who has just been nominated for the Nobel peace prize, the demonstrators are seeking to draw attention to the parlous state of our environment, and the seeming unwillingness of adults to take the significant steps required to arrest and reverse global warming.
While protesters made their voices heard in cities such as Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, the largest crowds were seen in the UK’s capital, where 20,000 young people gathered. All were demanding that the government not only declare a climate emergency and take all steps necessary to respond to it, but also start educating Britons about the current environmental crisis. They believe too that schools have a duty to teach about the environment, so younger generations grow up understanding their responsibilities to the planet.
“The number of students that took to the streets in March far outnumbered the first mobilisation in February, which speaks volumes to the passion, energy and anger at the situation we find ourselves in,” said Anna Taylor, 17, of the UK Student Climate Network, one of the organisers of Britain’s school strikes. “We’re demanding our supposed leaders step up, treat the climate crisis with the severity it deserves and act with immediacy. We’re tired of empty words and broken promises. If you won’t act now, step aside to allow room for those who will. The time for climate delayers is over.”
More school strikes are planned for 12 April.