Why are students choosing now to strike?
Today, March 15th, saw over 105 countries taking part in a global day of strike action against climate change. The movement, which all began with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, is taking place in the hope that governments across the world will implement adequate measures to tackle the climate crisis. Clic News spoke to some Cork Educate Together students who have set up the organisation ‘Climate Action Organisers’.
We asked them why, aside from the inspiration of Greta Thunberg, they are choosing now to act on climate change. “With 11 years left until the effects of climate change are irreversible, the only time is now. We don’t have time to deny anymore, and we can’t continue to ignore the facts. In Ireland, we are so behind in the targets set out for us in the Paris agreement. We need to act on these targets quickly.” Sumaya Mohammed, who is a 1st year student says: “you had 200 years to fix this mess, now we only have 10.” Oisín Twomey, also 1st year, says, “it’s a make or break situation”.
This generation certainly seems to be a more politically and environmentally engaged one. The students told us how they best educate themselves and learn about complex issues such as climate change. “Social media really helps because even if your community wouldn’t usually be involved in these social issues, it gives people a place to learn and join movements like these.” says Ruby Arozamena, 1st year student. “Information and new research from scientists is so accessible through the internet” says Oisín.
The students told us that they hope that the momentum gathered over the past few months, will not “die out” after this Friday’s demonstrations. “This is a continuous movement, and will only end when we get the action that we need,” said Lucas Feller, 1st year.
In recent weeks, many politicians have voiced their support for the movement, including Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton, as well as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. However, their endorsements seem to be falling short with many students, with some stating compliments are not what they require from the government. “Actions speak louder than words and although we know they mean well, the best compliment would be action,” says Mira Henchi – 2nd year student. Sumaya also expressed how she feels that “Leo Varadkar is using students as a prop for his political advances. If he truly supported us, he would have done something by now.”
The students will continue to draw attention to the climate crisis via their respective organisations on social media; ‘Schools Climate Action Network’, ‘SchoolStrike4ClimateIreland’ and ‘Fridays For Future Ireland’ [who are all responsible for organising strikes nationwide].