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Youngsters gear up for ‘world’s largest’ climate strike

Campaigners say numbers worldwide could beat the 1.6 million who took part in strikes for climate action in March.

UK Student Climate Network projected messages on landmarks including parliament promoting the strike (Samuel Keyte)
UK Student Climate Network projected messages on landmarks including parliament promoting the strike (Samuel Keyte)

By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent

Businesses, trade unions and environmental groups are backing children and students as they take to the streets for what is being billed as the world’s largest climate strike.

In the UK, youngsters are taking part in more than 150 demonstrations from Cornwall to Scotland and are urging people to join them to push for action to transform the economy to zero carbon and improve people’s lives.

Worldwide, campaigners say there are more than 3,400 events planned in 120 countries, with numbers taking part expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 million people who took to the streets for a global climate strike in March.

In New York, action will be led by youth strikers including teenage activist Greta Thunberg, whose strikes outside the Swedish parliament have inspired a global movement.

More than 1,000 Amazon employees have pledged to walk out on Friday in support of the strike to push the company to take greater action on climate change.

In the US, companies including Lush and Patagonia have said they will close offices and stores while in the UK the Trade Unions Congress has backed workers taking 30 minutes of action on Friday to support the strikers.

Amnesty International is one of the organisations which have also said it is supporting the strikes and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tweeted: “From school kids to Amazon workers, people from across the world are joining #ClimateStrike protests next Friday. Join us.”

Campaigners lit up buildings in major UK cities on Friday night with a series of projections urging people to join them on the strike on September 20.

Jake Woodier, of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), said: “The UKSCN is calling for policymakers to implement a ‘Green New Deal’ in the UK to transform our economy and tackle the climate crisis, and improve the lives of people in the UK.”

Such a move will would also lead to lower household bills, better quality housing, good quality jobs, and low or zero carbon infrastructure and industry.

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Clifton Suspension Bridge was lit up to promote the strikes on Friday (Ben Allen)

Strikers also want to see changes to education to empower young people with knowledge and skills to implement the solutions needed for the future and prepare them for the world they will be inheriting – and for the voting age to be lowered to 16.

It is not just about young people’s future, Mr Woodier said, but the situation in the world now.

“With every day that passes without action, people are suffering and the crisis is worsening.”

And he said youth strikers were not just trying to get time off, but were dedicated to elevating the sense of urgency among the public and putting pressure on politicians to act now.

PA

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