The battle around the world continues as the more and more children go on strikes to prove a point that climate change IS being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives.

The recent UN Climate Summit in 2019 recognised that climate change is “disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.” However, “there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.” The goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement was a key deal in ensuring that we had to actively try and keep the average global temperature to well below 2 degrees, closer 1.5 degrees Celsius. In November 2018, 184 countries and the European Union had joined the Agreement, agreeing to implement the guidelines and release its full potential, so why are strikes and calls to the world leaders for urgent action still taking place, more so from children?

This outcry for action first started off with 15 year old Greta Thunberg who had decided to stop going to school on Fridays last year and instead protest outside the Swedish parliament. She had criticised the slow pace of progress and reminded many of the youth that we, the future generation, are going to be the most affected by this and if we do not do anything about it now, not only we, but the planet as a whole will suffer from the consequences. Soon after this, similar actions have been carried out by children in many parts of the world, especially in Europe.

According to the UK Student Climate Network, there are four key demands that have been laid out to the government. The government should “declare a climate emergency", and inform the public about the seriousness of the situation. They also want the national curriculum reformed to include "the ecological crisis as an educational priority" so that young people can also be included in decision-making, especially about issues related to climate change and this would be supported with wanting the age of voting to be lowered to 16. These goals are being supported by a group of around 200 UK academics, who have written to a national newspaper to say they stand in solidarity with the strikers.

In the US, it is more of a trickier situation as the Republican party of which Trump leads, does not support the fact that climate change is happening and therefore is not part of the Paris Agreement, although there has recently been evidences of dispute on this matter within the party. Fortunately, demands from young people are being represented by the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she is behind the Green New Deal, a radical climate plan that would see the US decarbonise in 10 years time.

Therefore, in the UN Summit, it was said that in order to ensure that the transformative actions in the real economy are as impactful as possible, the Secretary-General has prioritised the following action portfolios, which are recognized as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increased global action on adaptation and resilience. Here are a few: • Energy Transition: accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency; • Industry Transition: transforming industries such as Oil and Gas, Steel, Cement, Chemicals and Information Technology; • Nature-Based Solutions: Reducing emissions, increasing sink capacity and enhancing resilience within and across forestry, agriculture, oceans and food systems, including through biodiversity conservation, leveraging supply chains and technology.

I went out to ask people in my community and my school what they thought of the rising concern of climate change and what they think should happen next. Many students expressed much concern and gave comments like, "The government must take actions before it’s too late,” “We only have 12 years left, I heard, and that’s really worrying. If we don’t do anything about it now, we’re heading into deep trouble!” Another student said, “I think that the school strikes are important because they let our voices to be heard, clearly since we don’t have any voting power. If adults aren’t going to do anything about it, we must take the problem into our own hands.” Though there have been alternative opinions as one lady expressed her worry on the school strikes, "It’s great that children are actively doing something to help tackle climate change but skipping school isn’t the right idea. What’s going to change by skipping school? Children are missing out on valuable education and by creating a short-term frenzy over this, it will do nothing more than gain a bit of media attention.”

What’s your opinion on this matter? Should children continue to strike? Has the government done much to tackle climate change?