The school climate strikes that have led to tens of thousands of young people taking to the streets around the world over recent months are poised to arrive in the UK next Friday.
Thousands of pupils are expected to walk out of lessons at schools and colleges across the country amid growing concern about the escalating climate crisis.
The movement started in August when the 16-year-old schoolgirl Greta Thunberg held a solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament. Now, up to 70,000 schoolchildren each week are taking part in 270 towns and cities worldwide.
Individual protests have been held in the UK, but next week a coordinated day of action is expected to result in walkouts in more than 30 towns and cities – from Lancaster to Truro, and Ullapool to Leeds.
Jake Woodier, of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, which is helping to coordinate the strikes, said Greta’s message about the need for radical, urgent change had struck a chord with hundreds of thousand of young people in the UK.
“The images of what Greta did and then the huge strikes by schoolchildren in other countries have been widely shared by young people on social media and have really inspired people.”
He said young people were becoming increasingly radicalised by the environmental crisis and understood the need for urgent political action.
“Young people see what is happening – especially since the IPCC report last year, which spelled out that we only have 12 years left to avoid catastrophic climate change … they realise that politicians are nowhere near where they need to be on this and want to do something to change that.”
There has been some pushback against the strikes by climate deniers and politicians. Last week, Belgian’s environment minister was forced to resign after falsely claiming the country’s intelligence services held evidence that the tens of thousands of children skipping school were being directed by unnamed powers. Read more