Hundreds of thousands of children across world to walk out of classrooms demanding action on climate change
Pupils set to strike at more than 100 locations in UK as international protest calls for plan to tackle environmental crisis
Thousands of pupils in over 100 countries will walk out of their schools on 15 March, as part of a global strike demanding increased action against climate change.
The movement which inspired the strikes, #FridaysForFuture, was started by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who tweeted about the planned walkouts on Thursday.
“Tomorrow we school strike for the climate in 1769 places in 112 countries around the world. And counting,” the Swedish teenager said.
“Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed. Let’s change history. And let’s never stop for as long as it takes.”
At least 212 separate strikes have been registered for 15 March in France, which is expected to see the highest number of school walkouts.
In Italy, pupils will protest at 208 locations, while 196 schools in Germany are expected to be affected.
Pupils in the UK will strike at around 111 locations, according to the #FridaysForFuture website, a month after thousands of British students walked out of schools at more than 60 locations in a similar demonstration.
During the first protest the UK’s prime minister, Theresa May, criticised the participants for wasting school lesson time.
“Dear school climate strikers, we agree,” he said. “Collective action of the kind you’re championing can make a difference, and a profound one.”
Mr Gove said the transition to a clean economy “will require us to change the way in which our energy is generated, change the way in which our homes are built, change the way in which our land is managed and farming operates.
“But that change is absolutely necessary,” he added.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, also voiced support for the protesters.
“Thank you for standing up against climate change,” he said on Twitter.
“You shouldn’t have to pay the price for the mistakes of previous generations.”
Organisers said they expected attendance on Friday to be larger than the first UK strike in February.
The protests come in the aftermath of a recent U.N. report which stated that global temperatures could rise by 1.5C.
Scientists believe the planet cannot surpass that threshold without experiencing damaging effects of climate change.
“It’s unfortunate that children have to sacrifice days of learning in school to demand that adults do the right thing,” Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said.
“However, they know the consequences of the current shameful inaction both for themselves and future generations. This should be a moment for stark self-reflection by our political class.”
Thunberg began skipping school on Fridays in August 2018 to protest about the climate crisis outside Sweden’s parliament.
The teenager did not return to school until the Swedish general election on 9 September and has since become renowned for her uncompromising environmental activism.
In January she made a speech at the World Economic Forum in front of an audience which included singer Bono and anthropologist Jane Goodall.
“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money,” she said.
The activist concluded her speech by urging the dignitaries at Davos to “behave like our house is on fire, because it is.”
On Thursday she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.