‘The world is dying’: youngsters strive for green future

Kel Nguyen

Standing under the rain, having a quick lunch, and holding homemade placards with slogans full of passion, dozens of people joined school strikes over climate change in St Peter Square in Manchester City Centre this Friday. The youngest is less than one year old.

The weekly protest most Friday has been inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg, who started her lonely protest every Friday before her country’s Parliament in August 2018. The event now has gone global, both online under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture and on the streets.

Youngster across the UK gave up their classes one day a week to call the government for concrete actions on climate change.

Jennie Gibson, facebook admin of Fridays For Future (FFF) said: “The government is ignoring the massive extinction and climate crisis.”

At 12pm, protesters were gathering in front of Manchester Central Library and ready for the demonstration.

Students gave up their classes to fight for the environment. (Photo: Kel Nguyen)

Everyone has recognised climate change for a long time, but they have not considered it as an emergency situation. Marc Hudson, 48, editor of Manchester Climate Monthly, said: “People have gone from nothing in their minds that the climate change is an issue that they have to deal with, to think this is an emergency, this is a problem we have to do a lot about right now. And that would not happen without protests, without ordinary people coming out and say ‘we can’.”

The youngest generation was fighting for their future. (Photo: Kel Nguyen)

The latest protest was on 15 March when young climate protesters blocked a tram road for 10 minutes and pledged more direct action on transportation.

Lillia Adetoro, nine, said: “The world is dying, and we have a right to save it. We also have to strike because children cannot vote yet. We cannot vote to save the world from plastic and make the world more eco-friendly.”

“I wish all the plastic to be gone next year,” said the youngest environment activist.

“I wish all the plastic to be gone next year,” said nine-year-old Lillia Adetoro at the rally (Photo: Kel Nguyen)

At the second green summit, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, addressed his ambitious plan which turns this international city as a neutral carbon city in 2038.

Andy Burnham said on the foreword of the plan: “If we don’t act now, it is our children and grandchildren’s generations and beyond who will be left with the consequences of climate change – consequences that may be long-lasting, or even irreversible and which they will have inherited from us.”

However, for city citizens, 2038 is such a long period of time to go.

Admin FFF, Jennie Gibson, said: “As Extinction Rebellion, we need zero-carbon in 2025.”

Marc hudson
“We do definitely need to stop supporting fossil fuel investment and exploration,” said Marc Hudson. (Photo: Kel Nguyen)

Marc Hudson added: “This is not the first time Greater Manchester and Manchester Council come under pressure to tackle climate change. Back in 2006 and 2010, they came up with what looked like radical policies and radical plans. And over the last ten years, they have totally failed to implement those plans.”

“The creation of the low carbon culture simply has not happened,” Hudson said.

The draft Manchester Zero Carbon Framework 2020-2038 revealed Manchester’s science-based targets being 15 million tonne carbon budget for 2018-2100, rapid carbon reduction starting in 2018, and averaging 13% year-on-year, and zero carbon by 2038.

A five-year-environmental-plan, which is a springboard of this two-decade-plan, was also launched.

The springboard project concentrates on key parts of daily life including energy supply, transportation, heat demand, resources, natural environment, and climate change resilient and adaption

A representative of the younger generation, Lillia, worries about a future without successful environmental actions which would be “no snow, no animal, no green trees, and lots of plastic in the oceans.”

Video: Kel Nguyen


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