The climate change protests

Thousands of people around the world joined a global climate change protest yesterday, with pupils walking out of schools and workers downing tools to demand action.  The British demonstrators numbered about 100,000.

The British Education Secretary Gavin Williamson predictably said “every child” should be in school.   “They should be learning, they shouldn’t be bunking off and it’s very irresponsible for people to encourage children to do so.”

One demonstrator is quoted as saying, “School is important but so is my future. If politicians were taking the appropriate action we need – and had been taking this action a long time ago when it was recognised the world was changing in a negative way – then I would not have to be skipping school.”

Another said,  “If we’re going to sustain this planet we need to get to net zero emissions a lot, lot quicker than 2050 [the government’s target].”. Unbelievably, yet another is quoted as saying that her employer declined to give her time off work to join demonstrators “because they didn’t think it was important”, (a lack of imagination to day the least).

I personally will never see the full effect of climate change, but it should be an Epicurean imperative  to protect the planet and the lives of all our young people, (my own grandchildren included). For a start every country, including the United States,  should be signed  up to the Paris Agreement, which commits signatory nations to keeping global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial time.  It seems to me incredible that, with all the dire weather events we have been having, there are still climate change deniers out there at all. I realise there are deeply entrenched special interests, but even oil company employees must read the news and feel uncomfortable about their company money going to politicians as  a sort of protection racket.  We should support, not criticize the children.  A day missing school is nothing in comparison to mass migration, homelessness, insecure food supplies, foreseeable violence and misery.

( The quotations come from a BBC report on the demonstrations)



One Comment

  1. I’m all in favour of demonstrating support for measures necessary to tackle climate change, particularly if the cost is only a day off school.

    What I’m not in favour of are the kind of protests seen in London today. Not far from where I work, Extinction Rebellion protestors have been closing down roads, blocking traffic, vandalising property, deliberately trying to get arrested, and just generally causing a nuisance.

    Extinction Rebellion have two problems. The first is their tactics. Making other people’s lives a misery is not going to win you support. If anything, many sensible, moderate people will have had their attitudes to the ecologist movement harden as a consequence of today’s events.

    Secondly, it doesn’t help to be hysterical. Of course, climate change is going to be immensely disruptive, and will cause a lot of pain if radical action isn’t taken. But it isn’t going to kill us all just yet. Rather than talk in utopian, idealistic terms about saving the planet from extinction, it would be far better for Extinction Rebellion’s leaders to sit down with government officials and come up with a realistic, practical policy programme that can solve the problem.

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