Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Youths rally in climate protest before EU vote

In Nelson. RNZ  Tracy Neal In Nelson. RNZ Tracy Neal
Patty Aguilar | 26 May, 2019, 21:55

Thunberg spearheaded the movement previous year by picketing outside Sweden's parliament in Stockholm.

He and five friends chose to skip school despite end-of-year exams creeping up, to participate in what is thought to have been one of the biggest global climate actions by young people yet, mobilising hundreds of thousands.

The issue has come to the fore ahead of the elections that began Thursday and end Sunday for the EU's 751-seat assembly.

At least 5,000 students boycotted classes and demonstrated at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate in what was expected to be one of the largest of protests planned in more than 120 countries.

Climate change has moved up the political agenda this year, especially among young, first-time voters who fear that they will bear the brunt of global warming, spurring a wave of support for Green candidates.

Thousands of students have taken to the streets in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to demand action on climate change.

Although the strikes are a "decentralised movement" and have no formal leader, many consider Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg to be the figurehead.

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Most mainstream parties have addressed climate change and other environmental issues as a Eurobarometer poll shows that it is now a leading concern for European Union voters, not far behind economic issues and migration. A variety of movements throughout Europe, U.S, and Australia started to emerge, known as School Strike for Climate, or Fridays for Future. The protest that began today in New Zealand and Australia will allegedly be picked up in other countries across Africa, Asia, America and Europe.

"I'm anxious about all the weather disasters".

"My environment is being destroyed by the fossil fuel industry", said Sainey Gibba, 22, a graduate student organizing a school strike in the West African country of Gambia. "Everytime we have huge a bushfire here another animal might go extinct", said Nina Pasqualini, a 13-year-old at a rally in Melbourne, led by the group Extinction Rebellion.

'The government isn't doing as much as it should.

Highest global carbon emissions were recorded in 2018, and a United Nations report warned of curbing carbon emissions over the next twelve years.

Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has led to droughts and heatwaves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating floods, scientists say.

'There'll definitely be more.

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