• Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:06 am

World's youth return to the streets to fight climate change

  • Published at 05:21 pm September 24th, 2021
Climate Change
People take part in a 'non-violent resistance' climate change protest organized by Extinction Rebellion in the Manhattan borough of New York City, US on September 17, 2021 Reuters

A landmark UN climate science report in August warned that human activity has already locked in climate disruptions for decades

Young people around the world began taking to the streets on Friday to demand urgent action to avert disastrous climate change, in their largest protest since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The strike takes place five weeks before the UN COP26 summit, which aims to secure more ambitious climate action from world leaders to drastically cut the greenhouse gas emissions heating the planet.

"Everyone is talking about making promises, but nobody keeps their promise. We want more action," said Farzana Faruk Jhumu, 22, a youth climate activist in Dhaka, Bangladesh. "We want the work, not just the promises."

Demonstrations kicked off in Asia and were planned in more than 1,500 locations, according to the youth movement Fridays for Future. In Germany alone, organizers expected hundreds of thousands to attend more than 400 protests.

A climate activist takes part in a 'March for Nature' protest demanding an immediate stop to all new fossil fuel investments, at Trafalgar Square, in London, Britain on September 4, 2021 | Reuters

"It has been a very strange year and a half with this pandemic. But of course, the climate crisis has not disappeared," said Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

"It's the opposite - it's even more urgent now than it was before," said Thunberg, who will strike on Friday in the German capital Berlin.


Also Read - Hopes and hurdles for women in climate vulnerable areas


A landmark UN climate science report in August warned that human activity has already locked in climate disruptions for decades - but that rapid, large-scale action to reduce emissions could still stave off some of the most destructive impacts.

So far, governments do not plan to cut emissions anywhere near fast enough to do that.

The United Nations said last week that countries' commitments would see global emissions increase to be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 - far off the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Friday's strike marks the in-person return of the youth climate protests that in 2019 drew more than six million people onto the streets, before the Covid-19 pandemic largely halted the mass gatherings and pushed much of the action online.

People protest during a 'non-violent resistance' climate change protest organized by Extinction Rebellion in the Manhattan borough of New York City, US on September 17, 2021 | Reuters

Yusuf Baluch, 17, a youth activist in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, said the return to in-person events was vital to force leaders to tackle the planetary crisis.

"Last time it was digital and nobody was paying attention to us," he said.

But with access to Covid-19 vaccines still highly uneven around the world, activists in some poorer countries said they would only hold symbolic actions with only a handful of people.

"In the global north, people are getting vaccinated so they might be out in huge quantities. But in the global south, we are still limited," Baluch said.

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