British Children Walk Out of Lessons on Climate Strike
British Children Walk Out of Lessons on Climate Strike
Children descend on Parliament in climate change demonstration
18 February, 2019, 22:38
As many as 100,000 school children are taking part in hundreds of towns and cities worldwide each week.
Christiana Figueres, who was United Nations climate chief when the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change was agreed, said she hoped politicians would heed the "deeply moving voice of youth and schoolchildren, who are so anxious about their future".
A major demonstration against a lack of action on climate change is taking place outside Leeds Town Hall.
That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by nearly half within 12 years.
Demonstrators are calling on the government to declare a climate emergency, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and change the curriculum to make the state of the environment an educational priority.
They also want recognition that young people have the biggest stake in the future, should be involved in policymaking, and that the voting age should be lowered to 16.
"We're running out of time for meaningful change and that's why we're seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records", Anna Taylor, a student climate activist and organizer, told The Guardian.
"It is vital their voices are heard now and take urgent action to avert the climate crisis".
Friday's protests are just the latest in an global string of youth strikes and efforts to sue governments to protect future generations, many of them led by people too young to vote.
In a statement, the NAHT said: "While a school leader's role is to ensure children attend school, are kept safe and receive a good quality of education, it is right that individual school leaders can decide how best to respond to any proposed protest by students in their school on Friday".
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"Young people are absolutely right to be concerned and angry about the kind of future older generations are on course to bequeath to them", Mr Lewis said. Children can only take "authorised absences" for "exceptional circumstances" which are not defined.
"This is ultimately a matter for headteachers to consider, but I've repeatedly said I don't want teachers being burdened with extra and unnecessary workload, and that's exactly what these strikes would lead to".
Energy minister Claire Perry told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I suspect if this was happening 40 years ago, I would be out there too".
"We've been neglected and ignored by older people - they're not doing anything about climate change".
"I do want to slightly caution that with the more official view that we can't put any more burdens on our superb teachers and teaching staff".
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, tweeted his support: "Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face, but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line".
Speaking before the event, one Silverdale pupil said she is "not usually one to break any school rules" but is "extremely passionate about our home and planet because it is clear to me and my fellow students that we are very quickly losing our chance to save the planet".
"They should know that they will not be punished for defending their own future".
Young people at the protest in Parliament Square also boarded an open top London tour bus during the climate change protest.
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