Skipping school for a cause: 10,000 teens protest climate change

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-02-08 16:01

Global school strikes planned for March 15

Their parents and teachers might not have been impressed, but more than 10,000 kids skipped school on Feb. 7 to call for action on climate change in the Netherlands.

It was the fifth Thursday in a row that the students had missed school to march.

The protesters filled the streets of The Hague, the city where the government of the Netherlands is located, carrying homemade signs and shouting slogans.

“Skipping a climate pact is worse than skipping school,” said one sign painted in colourful letters on a white sheet.

Sign painted on white sheet says Skipping a climate pact is worse than skipping school.

Many of the students had skipped school for five Thursdays in a row to attend protests in a city called The Hague in the Netherlands. (Michael Corder/Associated Press)

Organizers of the demonstrations said they wanted to send a wake-up call to politicians in the Netherlands who are trying to figure out how to slow down climate change.

The marches were sparked by news that the Netherlands would not be able to reach its goal of  reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.

Map shows distance from Canada to The Hague.

"The earth is warming up, everyone knows that," said 17-year-old protester Berber Neef. "We need tougher measures. The government has to act."

More than 350 scientists wrote an open letter supporting the students and their protest.

Tweet from Frank Biermann says Our open letter, supporting today's #climatestrike and calling for urgent climate action is published with Dutch national paper Trouvw. 350+ colleagues have signed.

Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, responded to the protests in a tweet saying climate change affects everyone, but young people are most affected.

Various local news organizations also reported that he defended his government’s record by saying the Netherlands is already doing a lot for the planet, compared to other European countries.

In a press conference on Feb. 8, Rutte said the protests would push his government to continue working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Crowd of students waving signs.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the protests will push his government to keep working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Remko de Wall/AFP/Getty Images)

Similar marches have been held in Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland.

A day of school strikes across the planet is planned for March 15.

Tweet from Rachel Leung says Feeling proud. An estimated 10,000 students marching through The Hague to protest climate change.

With files from the Associated Press

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