“We come out of our recklessness because our leaders are in denial”

Posted on September 23, 2022

This Friday, September 23 marks the return of global climate strikes at the initiative of Fridays for Future. In France, students from 500 schools will mobilize to call on the government to act quickly in the face of the climate emergency and to follow the recommendations of the IPCC. The challenge is to succeed in restructuring a movement weakened in particular by the Covid-19 pandemic, while major meetings, such as COP27 on the expected climate, are by the end of the year.

It is the great return of strikes for the climate this Friday, September 23, everywhere in France and in the world. In France, meeting is given in front of the town halls at 11:30 am. In Paris, a rally is scheduled for 2 p.m. in front of the Hôtel de Ville. In total, students from more than 500 schools will skip class “for a good cause”, following the Fridays for Future movement launched in Sweden in 2018 by the now famous Greta Thunberg.

“We want to resume the movement, relaunch the dynamic around this narrative of the strike, which has a very important historical anchor in France”, explains Alice Dubois, 19, a 2nd year political science student in Nancy and spokesperson for Fridays for Future France, launched at the start of the year. “We can’t go back to school as if nothing had happened after the apocalyptic summer we have just experienced”, completes the second spokesperson for the movement, Pablo Flye, 18 years old and a 2nd year student in economics in Nancy.

Main demand: training in climate issues for all from an early age

The movement of strikes for the climate had experienced a beautiful event around the person of Greta Thunberg, who had then toured the major assemblies (UN, Davos, COP25, etc.) to scold world leaders. But the dynamic was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic which prevented any mobilization. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to restructure the movement with lots of new people joining us who have never been an activist before,” points out Pablo Flye, eager not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

“The movement has run out of steam because of the Covid-19, but also because we have not been able to organize ourselves in the face of a wave of commitments. This is why we are going to train people more, support groups local people in their mobilization, but also set milestones to win small victories”, he details. Thus, the strike of this Friday, September 23 is placed under the sign of education, with as main demand training in climate issues for all from an early age.

“We would like not to have to strike”

At the global level, 600 mobilizations are called all over the world, from Bangladesh to Ecuador, from Bulgaria to Sierra Leone, but also in Italy where the movement will be held a few days before the legislative elections where the extreme right is given in head. A few weeks before the COP27 on the climate, which will be held in Egypt, it is the question of the financing of losses and damages by the rich countries to the countries of the South which is brandished. “Northern governments had to pay for the loss and damage in our communities, not out of solidarity, but because it is their historic responsibility, and we are here to reclaim that debt”says Edwin Namakanda, a Ugandan climate activist.

From COP27, neither Pablo nor Alice are expecting much. “We would like to be able to count on it, but we know that it will be another missed opportunity, with big speeches, non-binding objectives and few concrete measures”, Pablo list, who says he is angry with political and economic leaders. “We would like not to have to strike and be able to go to school and live our youth. But we come out of our recklessness because our leaders are in denial”, sorry Alice. Both recognized that their commitment constitutes a form of sacrifice. But they also assure that being in action allows them to better live the climate crisis.

Concepcion Alvarez @conce1

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