By Sharon Tshipa
Polish school children on Friday entered the UN halls to raise their call for urgent and ambitious climate action in light of the recent IPCC report on the devastating impacts of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The strike comes as ministers and delegates in Katowice have only 24 hours to share with the world their final decision on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. Pressure is on them to announce their plans for increased climate action by 2020, following the report by the IPCC in October on the action required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Gosia Czachowska, a 15-year-old Polish student who walked out of a school in Katowice, a town where the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) is being held, said she is striking because she loves the planet and because she wants to have a good future like many people had in the past.
“I am here to support Greta because what she did was amazing. She inspired many people. She is very brave and is an example that one person can do a lot,” explained Czachowska.
Greta Thunberg is a 15 year old Climate Activist, who also attended the COP24 UN Climate negotiations in the company of her father. Thunberg achieved international recognition overnight when several months ago she began a one-woman SKOLSTREJK FÖR KLIMATET –School Strike for Climate– outside of the Swedish Parliament. Her no nonsense, direct confrontation with Swedish politicians has inspired students in hundreds of schools both in Sweden and around the world to stage similar actions under the hashtag #ClimateStrike. When she returned to school finally, she persisted in striking every Friday.
When speaking at the UN climate negotiations a few days ago, Greta urged delegates to follow the lead of those mobilised all over the world saying, “You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess. Even when the only sensible thing to do is to pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is.” To date she has inspired hundreds of children in countries like Germany to strike, hence today students from various countries across the world have walked out of schools to join Greta Thunberg’s climate strike.
In Poland children walked out of three local schools this morning to join the strike staged at COP24. “Greta has shown us that we young people have power and we can do something because many people including me thought that we are too young, too small and we don’t mean anything actually, but she proved that it’s not true,” said Gosia Czachowska.
Her worst fear, should negotiators ignore the dangers of a world beyond 1.5 degrees warming, is that she will live to see the world destroyed. She fears people from poor countries will die, and with them their cultures will die, and so will many species. She is however hopeful that the right decision will be made, as she said negotiators have everything they need to know in order to make the right choice.
Gosia Czachowska and her colleagues are not the only youths concerned about the state of the planet and its future. Yesterday, Luis Alvarado, President of the European Youth Forum also gave a statement at the UN climate talks saying that young people have the right to participate in the decisions shaping their future. “The urgency of the situation requires a dramatic shift in our priorities,” he said.
According to the IPCC report the past decade has seen an astonishing run of record-breaking storms, forest fires, droughts, coral bleaching, heat waves, and floods around the world with just 1.0 degrees Celsius of global warming. However, all these the reports cites will get substantially worse with a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature. Because of climate change scientists fear that entire nations, ecosystems, people, and ways of life could simply cease to exist, and countless lives will be irreparably harmed. For these reasons, many young people across the world have taken up the fight against climate change.
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