Students and workers across the globe are involved in climate strikes and protests to demand urgent action to tackle climate change ahead of a U.N. summit.
From Dakar, Canberra, Kabul, Cape Town, Berlin, and across other parts of Asia Pacific and five UK cities many students skipped school on Friday demanding that leaders tackle the climate crisis.
Events began in Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, where organizers estimate more than 300,000 protesters took to streets in 110 towns and cities, including Sydney and Canberra, the nation’s capital.
“Incredible pictures. This is the huge crowd building up in Sydney. Australia is setting the standard!” tweeted Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who partly inspired the climate strike.
A teen who skipped class to join the protests told the BBC, “This is far more important than a maths lesson,” adding that “[I]f we just went to school and ignored this, then it doesn’t matter if we learnt much or not because we probably won’t survive in the future.”
Africa is said to be the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the one with least readiness to tackle it.
The BBC reports that in Senegal more than 200 young people gathered in the suburb of Rufisque for protests carrying signs which say “legui legui” – “right now”.
The UN predicts more than 50 million people in the country will be forced to leave their homes by 2020 because their land has turned to desert.
What is climate change?
Climate change is a gradual change in the planets’s climate including its pattern of weather, oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets.
Scientists say the current period of warming is occurring at a rate much higher than past events and has attributed this to rapid human-induced warming which has overtaken a natural change in climatic conditions.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the climate is warming and about 50% of that can be attributed to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and farming livestock.
Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has already led to droughts and heatwaves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and floods, scientists say.
The public has called for a switch to wind and solar. However the energy from wind and solar can’t be stored which subsequently this leads to more carbon dioxide emission as seen in Germany which had to turn-on coal-fired plants.
However IPCC says the world can’t meet its emissions targets without people making changes to their daily lives.
Many of the protesters believe global warming is the biggest catastrophe currently facing us, however there’s no real solution in sight.