Students taking the future into their own hands

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Finnland, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and the United States are just some parts of the world in which students have decided to join school strikes for climate justice.

Global strike for Future

By staying out of school on Fridays, students have decided to show what they think is the priority for their future. This Friday will be no exception. The protests are expected to culminate on March 15th with a Global Climate Strike in which students from over 71 countries are predicted to take part in. Are you one of them?

FridaysForFuture Map

How did it all start?

All of that began with just one person – now the Nobel peace prize nominee Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old activist who started the #FridaysForFuture movement.

She began protesting against the lack of action about the climate crisis outside the Swedish parliament last summer and continued to spread her message from then on. This year, Greta also spoke during the World Economic Forum in Davos, warning about urgent changes that need to be made, before the damage and effects of climate change become irreversible.

Part of the speech Greta Thunberg held at TEDxStockholm/ photo: /

Youth leading the way

The youth definitely recognized the urgency of nature preservation and their solidarity and passion for saving the environment soon captured everyone’s attention.

System change, not climate change!

System change, not climate change!  Seas are rising, so are we! are just some of the messages chanted by the students walking down the city streets, determined to urge the government to make the future of the planet a priority. Many criticized the movement pointing out that students should not be missing school for such protests. On the other hand, some of the teachers joined the protests emphasizing the valuable lesson of standing up for your rights as well as expressing the knowledge gained in schools. The support came from scientists as well.  Regardless of the approval, the protests are undeniably getting bigger, and the voices, louder.

The change starts with us, especially the youth. Raising awareness and introducing the concepts of active citizenship from a young age is therefore very beneficial. EUROPARC is promoting this through it’s Junior Ranger program aimed at young people aged 12-18 who are living within or close to the protected area. It encourages them to learn more about the world they live in, to respect nature and live in harmony with it. You can learn more about it and how to join here.

We need the change – now!

According to Center of Biological Diversity, we’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. 

According to the UN, the cumulative level of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions grows with our standards of living, and there are also other links:

  • The concentration of GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere is directly linked to the average global temperature on Earth;
  • The most abundant GHG, accounting for about two-thirds of GHGs, is carbon dioxide (CO2), is largely the product of burning fossil fuels.

What is the role of protected areas in this situation?

In his article We have an appointment with the future!” EUROPARC President, Ignace Schops, points out that nature conservation and rewilding efforts can work! Wolves and lynxes in protected areas in Europe, Pandas in protected areas in China, and tigers in protected areas in India. The keyword is “protected area”. In protected areas, species and habitats survive or suffer less.

(Periurban) Parks

Parks help build the resilience of our life-support system, that is nature (food, water, air production). Also, if you have a natural park in your city, you don’t have to drive for hours in order to enjoy nature on the weekends. However, they are much more than just a convenient part of our everyday life.

Beyond the protest

Youth Climate Strike points out that they are striking for Green New Deal, a transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. They also want the climate crisis to be declared as a national emergency, adding there are only 11 years left to avoid catastrophic climate change. Among other things, they point out that the world needs to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050

What are your thoughts on this topic? Are you planning on joining the protest as well?