By Shermain Bique-Charles
Schoolchildren in Antigua and Barbuda joined hundreds of thousands of young people around the globe on Friday during a Global Climate Strike to demand action on climate change ahead of the United Nations summit on Monday.
Students from various schools including Potters Primary, Golden Grove Primary, S.R. Olivia David Primary, Five Islands Primary, Mary E. Pigott Primary, Sea View Farm Primary and the Ottos Comprehensive School lined the streets near the Botanical Gardens chanting “we want climate justice now”; “sea levels are rising and so are we”; and “keep our carbon in the soil no more oil”.
Sine the police did not grant them permission to march through St. John’s, the students, however, demonstrated at the Botanical Gardens.
Maria Eldridge, the main organizer for the Global Climate Strike told OBSERVER media that Mother Nature will fight back if methods are not taken to mitigate against climate change.
The initiative, started in August 2018 by a 16-year-old Swedish student and environmental activist, encourages students from around the world to call on their respective state leaders to honour commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, stop the use of fossil fuels and start the transition to 100 per cent clean energy use.
Antigua and Barbuda is the first registered participant in the Global Climate Strike from the Caribbean to take part in today’s protest.
In Australia, organisers estimated that more than 300,000 people took to the streets. In London, a girl held a sign that read, “We are skipping our lessons to teach you one.”
In Berlin, more than 100,000 people gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate near Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, where all-night talks produced a $60-billion package of measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
In northern Pakistan, more than 300 teachers, students and environmental activists marched at the University of Peshawar, chanting slogans such as “Save our planet” and “Earth is our mother.”
Thousands of protesters marched through central Paris and high school students skipped classes to show their growing anger and frustration.
In Texas, protesters gathered in Austin, Dallas suburbs, San Antonio, on the Mexican border and in Houston, which was still reeling from Tropical Storm Imelda with flash flood warnings in effect.
Protests also took place in other cities around Britain, including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Brighton and Newcastle.
In China, however, no major strikes occurred. Public gatherings and Internet access are strictly controlled in the world’s most populous nation and largest carbon emitter.