Hear Their Voices: Students’ Demands for the Environment

Students around the world have been going on strike since the beginning of 2019 demanding for actions on climate change. Thousands, ranging from high school to university students have gone to the streets to demand the government to act.

Environmental issues had already been a part of the security agendas of some states, however, little has been done, and there have not yet been any significant positive changes on the climate. If nothing were to be done soon, then the future children will live in will suffer from the outcomes of the climate change happening right now. As some of the signs the students made said, “Burning who’s future” and “This isn’t your future it’s your children’s”, the students are explicitly demanding for justice of their future to the governments.

Beginning from the efforts of a young activist in Sweden, Greta Thunberg who had been skipping school every Friday since 2018 to encourage politicians to take action on the matter, the movement grew larger, students in several cities began to join and in 2019 the movement had become global. Her actions inspired the students around the world, earning herself a place to be a nomination for the Nobel peace prize. In response to this she posted in Twitter, “[I am] honored and very grateful for this nomination, Tomorrow we #schoolstrike for our future. And we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”

Gas emissions, coals, increasingly dangerous natural disasters caused by climate change are among the many reasons why these students walk out their classes to protest their respective governments. The world is dying, they said, and they demand for a future they can leave peacefully. However, that demand will not be able to be achieved if no action were taken as world leaders only have 11 more years to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, according to a 2018 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

No states will be safe if the climate change is left alone. Even the slightest bit of temperature rise will affect the outcome of a natural disaster. Future wildfires and Hurricanes will bring devastation, the rising sea levels will swallow up small islands. The children are blaming adults for being irresponsible on their part for saving the Earth and leaving it to the children. A 22-year old activist from Mauritius, Shaama Sandooyea criticized the political inaction saying, “What is the purpose of education if … those who have the power to make a difference, are not listening to us?”

However, with the students going to the strikes the numbers of absences in school have also drastically increased. Several schools took measures on dealing them, as joining the strikes means that the students will miss their lessons and tests. There are even some who says that they will not excuse students skipping school for the strike. They gave the students who went to the strike detentions, some asked the students to write an essay explaining their actions but there were also some schools who allowed students to participate if they had their parent’s permission. This did not stop the students to continue their rally on global climate change. They have scheduled their strikes and they plan on doing it until action has been done.

References :

  • Carrington, D. (2019, March 14). Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel peace prize. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/14/greta-thunberg-nominated-nobel-peace-prize
  • Gerretsen, I., Lazarus, S., & Seo, Y. (2019, March 15). Global Climate Strike: Meet the teenagers skipping school to fight for a greener planet. Retrieved from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/14/world/global-climate-strike-teenagers-school-walkout-greta-thunberg-intl/index.html
  • Kaur, H., & Park, M. (2019, March 15). Here’s why these young climate activists are striking. Retrieved from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/global-climate-strike-students-protest-climate-inaction-intl/index.html
  • Scroggins, J. (2017, November 15). Climate Change is Making Natural Disasters Worse, and More Likely. How Do We Protect the Most Vulnerable? Retrieved from Public Health Institute: http://www.phi.org/news-events/1339/climate-change-is-making-natural-disasters-worse-and-more-likely-how-do-we-protect-the-most-vulnerable
  • Wilton, K. (2019, March 12). Schools say parents must approve students leaving class for climate march. Retrieved from Montreal Gazette: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/thousands-of-montreal-students-expected-to-join-climate-march


Reporter         :           Sebastiann Nurmann Wetik (IRB News)

Editor             :           Elsa Louserna (IRB News)