Cutting class for the climate

Students across Europe cut school to participate in protests

Justin Kliewer, Copy Editor

All throughout the continent of Europe, students in countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, and Britain are participating in climate rallies every Friday, known as “Fridays for Future.” The goal of these rallies is to protest against politicians of their residencies who, from the students’ perspectives, aren’t doing enough to combat climate change.  However, there is one small caveat – these Friday protests are taking place during public school hours.

“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is,” high school sophomore, Greta Thunberg, said, addressing world leaders. “Even that burden you leave to us children.” Thunberg was the one who began the movement itself, and has grown to become the face of an ever-growing movement. Her initial actions, skipping Friday classes to protest Swedish politicians who, in her eyes, were neglecting climate issues, and she continued skipping Friday classes as progress on that front had not been made; her movement eventually gained support from other students. She documented the strikes on her Twitter page, causing the strikes to flood worldwide, especially across Europe, by students demanding change. Thunberg was even invited to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. Since then, the movement has only grown.

The movement has had mixed reception from world leaders in some of the affected countries. While receiving support from EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the movement drew flak from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said the strikes took time away from education that would help the climate change movement in the long run.

Recently, the movement has drawn support from those in the science field. Specifically, an open letter published in the magazine “Science” titled “Concerns of Young Protestors are Justified” drew more than 3,000 signatures from scientists worldwide.

“The current measures for protecting the climate and biosphere are deeply inadequate,” states the letter. “We see it as our social, ethical, and scholarly responsibility to state in no uncertain terms: Only if humanity acts quickly and resolutely can we limit global warming, halt the ongoing mass extinction of animal and plant species, and preserve the natural basis for the food supply and well-being of present and future generations. This is what the young people want to achieve. They deserve our respect and full support.”