At a time when adults do not care about the future – and seem to have done enough to mess it up – young people are ready to take up the mantle. We have already seen how schoolchildren in the US took on the mantle of the fight for gun reform in the US. Now, this past Friday, tens of thousands of schoolchildren and student in more than 100 countries went on ‘strike’ to raise awareness about the climate emergency. The thinking is simple: adults are not doing enough for our future. This has led to the youth participating in the first global climate strike. Strikes were held across the world, including developing countries such as India, Uganda, the Philippines and Nepal. In Sydney alone, 30,000 children and young people marched. Over 2,000 events were held on Friday, coordinated via social media. In Delhi, over 200 school children walked out of their classes, despite the heavily disciplinarian schooling structure that our countries follow. The world’s young want the global political elite to do more to put a halt to climate change. Next time the strike is held, the numbers are likely to be higher after the energy the first strike has generated.
The student strikes were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting her school to sit outside the Swedish parliament advocating action against climate change. Last week, she earned a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. While one coordinated strike may not be enough to earn a Nobel prize, there would certainly be a strong case for the striking schoolchildren to win such a prize if the strikes were to become a serious global movement.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, we unfortunately, have a long long way to go before our government and people both take note of climate change that we are in grave danger of being severely affected by. The smog crisis that continues to engulf the country has barely mustered any serious government action. Compared to that, South Korea, which has less than one-third the pollution levels of Pakistan, has announced a national emergency and is attempting serious measures to combat the growing levels of pollutants in the atmosphere. Even globally, the student strikes have mustered the kind of inaction that they have become used to receiving from adults. The Australian education minister claimed this ‘should not be encouraged.’ The UK education secretary claimed they ‘wasted lesson time.’ But it has become clear that this world’s adults do not know what is best. Their patronising approach is what young people are tired of – a world that is on the brink of becoming unliveable. If adults refuse to act, the children of the world look set to unite against climate change.