Thousands of school students around the world took part in a strike against climate change today. In Dublin, thousands of primary and secondary school students met at St Stephen’s Green and marched to Leinster House where the rally took place to demand climate action by the Irish Government.
Irish student activists called on the Government to declare a “climate emergency” and have issued a list of six demands to lawmakers. The demands include a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030, a pledge to leave all Irish fossil fuels in the ground and stronger regulations on corporations that are causing the climate crisis.
Students have also demanded a “socially fair” transition to a carbon-neutral society as well as the immediate implementation of all the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change.
In order to ensure that all young school leavers can have livelihoods that don’t damage the planet, the striking students have asked for the implementation of a ‘Green New Deal’. Teenage climate activists in the crowd held placards with phrases including “Tick Tock, Taoiseach”, “Make the Planet Great Again” and “There is No Planet B”.
In an article for the Irish Times about why she decided to take part in today’s climate action protest, Sophie Gibbons, a 16 year-old transition-year student, said “This has to be the start of something big so that my generation- and hopefully many more to come- will have a world to grow up in.”
Gibbons added that she was inspired by 16 year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has just been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg has sparked a surge in global protest activity by young people in recent months.
Inspired climate action protesters in Dusseldorf, Germany, created a giant Greta Thunberg carnival float for the Rose Monday celebrations on March 4. The float was used again today for the school climate strikes.
Solidarity Councillor Michael O’Brien has expressed his disappointment at the Lord Mayor’s refusal to consider Greta Thunberg for Freedom of City of Dublin.
The Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton has welcomed the “passion and enthusiasm among young people for what is our biggest challenge globally.”
One of the organisers of the Dublin demonstration, second-year student Molly Mercier-Redmond, responded to Bruton’s comments, stating “they keep saying they are going to do something, but we’re going to keep pushing until they actually do”.
Ireland’s largest trade union, SIPTU, has also expressed its support for the school strikes.
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