Is your child planning to go on strike from school over climate change this week?
PUBLISHED: 09:57 12 February 2019
Children across the UK - including some from East Anglia - are planning to miss school this Friday as part of a country-wide youth protest demanding action on climate change.
Postings on Facebook show students from over 20 locations across the UK - including Norwich and Cambridge - are planing events as part of the #YouthStrike4Climate movement. In London, a protest in Parliament Square is planned while as yet it is unclear what action, if any, is taking place in Suffolk or north Essex.
The planned action for February 15th comes in the wake of protests in other countries such as Sweden, Germany and Australia where thousands of children from both primary and secondary schools have missed school or gone on ‘strike’ to take part in protests. #YouthStrike4Climate calls for governments to declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth; to reform the national curriculum to address the ecological crisis; and incorporate youth views into policy-making.
A single cause
The UK Students Climate Network (USCN) is co-ordinating action in the UK. It is headed up by Anna Taylor, an A level student who goes to school in north London.
Speaking to the EADT, Ms Taylor said: “Compared with countries like Sweden and Germany, there is a lack of awareness about climate change among young people in the UK,”she said.
“But focussing around a single cause like the strikes seems to have really helped. We’ve had new groups from different cities signing up every day, I had no idea it would reach this level in the UK.”
She added: “We feel the burden of responsibilty much more than previous generations, and feel disappointed and almost betrayed by the lack of action around climate change. Teenagers listen to their peers and it is more likely that the movement will take off here through seeing other students being empowered across the globe.”
The day of action on February 15th only involves students from the UK and has been organised in preparation for a global day of action a month later on March 15th.
Suffolk County Council’s position is that it is up to individual schools to decide what actions they are taking in preparation for any potential strike action as well as what actions will be taken for those students that decide to strike.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Suffolk County Council supports school leaders across Suffolk to secure good attendance at school. It is crucial for students to attend and benefit from planned lessons to ensure that they have the best opportunity for fulfilling their full potential.”
At pressure group Campaign against Climate Change, campaigns coordinator Claire James said: “The youth movement demanding action on climate change is well established in countries like Australia and Germany where strikes have already taken place with tens of thousands of young people.
“In the UK, it’s a grass roots movement which is just starting to grow, but I’d expect awareness to increase leading up to the Feb 15th event. Then March 15th is a global school strike day of action. It would be fantastic to see the same kind of active youth climate movement here in the UK as there is already in other countries.”