In scenes that will surely send shivers down the spines of Tories and right-wingers across the country, tens of thousands of schoolchildren took to the streets today to protest the government’s continued inaction on climate change – and the message from them was particularly clear, with chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” and “F*ck Theresa May” echoing throughout the capital.
Inspired by the actions and words of 15-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, pupils from across Britain united behind her message and walked out of school en-masse to protest against Climate Change.
Schoolchildren from over 60 towns and cities across the United Kingdom took part in the action, with the aim of forcing the government declare a climate emergency and promise to take urgent steps to tackle the growing threat of climate change.
The action is part of a global youth movement known as Schools 4 Climate Action, and youngsters from across the world – from German, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia – have already held their own protests.
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – whose 2017 manifesto contained an entire 16 pages of policy to tackle Climate Change and instigate a “Green Transformation” in Britain – praised the action, tweeting:
“Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line.
They are right to feel let down by the generation before them and it’s inspiring to see them making their voice heard today.
Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line.
They are right to feel let down by the generation before them and it’s inspiring to see them making their voice heard today. #SchoolStrike4Climate
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 15, 2019
However, the Prime Minister Theresa May – whose 2017 Conservative Party manifesto contains just two mentions of climate change and absolutely no new policies on the increasingly desperate issue – slammed the protests, with her spokesman stating:
“Everybody wants young people to be engaged in the issues that affect them most, so that we can build a brighter future for all of us.”
“But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.”
“That time is crucial for young people, precisely so they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.”
Unsurprisingly, with the two major party leaders issuing completely opposing opinions on the issue, the young Climate Change protesters were left in little doubt as to who to support.
In London, there was vocal support for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with thousands of protestors singing the now-infamous “oh Jeremy Corbyn” chant:
And later on – in response to Theresa May’s stinging criticism and her party’s continued refusal to take genuine action on climate change – thousands of protesters were also heard chanting “fuck Theresa May“:
— ARTIST TAXI DRIVER (@chunkymark) February 15, 2019
— Dazed (@Dazed) February 15, 2019
In the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party enjoyed a mammoth majority over the Conservative Party in terms of votes from 18-35 year olds – with their bold new policies on climate change, combined with their pledge to abolish tuition fees and engage in a radical house building scheme cited by many youngsters as the main factor for turning out in favour of Labour.
Conversely, the Conservative Party enjoyed a staggering lead over Labour in terms of votes from older generations – with more than 60% of over 65s voting for Theresa May’s party.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that, not only is the British public divided over Brexit, there’s also an increasingly stark generational divide – and, with younger generations facing the prospect of having to clean up the mess left by their parents and grandparents, climate change is only going to become more and more of a hot topic at future elections.
The United Nations recently issued a stark warning that humanity now only has 12 years to take urgent action on climate change or face an irreversible global catastrophe.
The report stated that, unless urgent and unprecedented steps are taken now, global temperatures will rise beyond 1.5 degrees – a change that would significantly increase the chances of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people across the world.