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Youth strikers march for climate justice

Nick Breeze

Nick Breeze

Climate journalist and host of the ClimateGenn podcast.

The youth movement has become a key voice at COP25 as countries negotiate action.

Thousands of youth strikers took to the streets around the world last week, from here in Madrid to parallel demonstrations in New York and Stockholm among the many other locations.

The impacts of climate change not only threaten our collective future but are wrecking lives all over the world today.

From the northeast of England to Bangladesh and Sydney, Australia, people are starting to realise that climate action is not just needed, it is critical. Emissions must come down – policies and people must change.

Youth announcement

Youth delegates at the UN climate conference in Madrid held a press conference delivering a very stark outlook for their futures if governments do not take action now.

The science is irrefutable and scientists are now speaking out that the old system of growth and profit is destroying the planet.

Internationally renowned climate scientist, Professor James Hansen commented: “The young people have different attitudes than the younger generation but right now our politics are still driven by this older generation, the baby boomers. The younger generations are starting to say, “Okay boomer…!”

Interviewing Dr James Hansen at COP25 Madrid

Dismayed over the lack of action being taken by governments and the staggering injustice of subsidising the fossil fuel industry which is the main cause, Joel Pera from Latin America said: “Politicians all over the world are not only ignoring science, they lead a war against concrete climate action.

“They are supporting the fossil fuel industry’s interests instead of workers, frontline communities and youth. We stand in solidarity with all workers, women, indigenous people fighting for justice.

“Millions of people are demanding climate justice. But our economic system is advancing the destruction of our planet. If we don’t act, the people benefiting from this status quo will win.”

Toby Thorpe, a School Striker in Australia said: “I come from a country of privilege, technology, money and the possibility to lead on climate action.

“But our oceans are warming, our country is literally on fire. We are not only in a climate emergency we are in a climate justice emergency.

“The Pacific people, the frontline communities and the youth will suffer the most even though we contributed the least to this problem.

“COP25 prides itself on the slogan ‘Time For Action’. That means it’s time to move beyond politics, money, greed and move to global collaborative action now.”

Adenike Oladosu, a youth striker from Nigeria gave a very moving address at the COP. She said: “Africa is the most hit by climate crisis. Every day hundreds of lives are lost.

“Should we continue to live this way? Climate injustice is a crime. We cannot wait for 3-5 years, to combat climate crisis. We cannot stay passive when our future is being washed away by the climate crisis.

“It’s time for action and not empty words.”

Cautious optimism

When asked about his optimism that we will make good on climate action, Professor James Hansen said: “Well, it has to start soon because the more [carbon emissions] we put there, the harder the solution becomes.

“I am hoping that in the next year or two we will see a real change. We need to see a change in the United States for sure!”

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