‘This is the most important thing, in my opinion, that we have going on in the world.’
A small group of five students at Holy Heart of Mary in St. John’s is organizing a protest in line with a global climate strike taking place on Friday during school hours.
In August 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old political activist, left school to strike against climate change outside the Swedish parliament building. She has since made headlines across the world and inspires other students, like the ones at Holy Heart, to do the same.
More than 1,300 protests will happen around the world Friday. It’s part of Thunberg’s now global initiative called #FridaysForFuture.
Allison Jeon is one of the five students who are spearheading the strike. She will also be one of the people speaking during the event.
“The event starts at 10 a.m. and finishes at 12 p.m. We start at the [Memorial University] clock tower, and we make our way up to the Confederation Building,” Jeon said. “We’re going to stand outside the Confederation Building, and that’s where the strike will mainly happen.”
There will be musical and improv performances. As well, the group has speeches prepared alongside a MUN student and potentially politicians as well. They will be calling to Premier Dwight Ball and Environment Minister Graham Letto to adhere to the promises made in the Paris Agreement signed in 2016.
“Our leaders – globally, not just in Newfoundland – have failed us in that they’re not taking the steps that they have promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Jeon said.
Chloe Puddester is a co-head of the environmental group at Holy Heart and is also part of the group spearheading the climate strike on Friday.
“I think there are only two countries that are currently meeting their emission standards,” she said.
The Paris Agreement’s aim is to keep the global temperature down. The goal is to limit the temperature increase to 2 C above pre-industrial levels.
Currently, Canada’s emissions rates would be rated highly insufficient and contributing to a global temperature rise of greater than four degrees, according to ClimateActionTracker.org.
“Once you start putting that into perspective,” Puddester said, “and you start looking at the fact that our planet is dying, it puts everything else into perspective, and it makes everything else seem so insignificant compared to this.
“This is the most important thing, in my opinion, that we have going on in the world,” said Puddester.
The climate strike is happening during school hours to grab the attention of political leaders, something that was inspired by Thunberg.
“We’re taking it out of school [because the] #FridaysForFuture movement is about striking against going to school because the government, and the leaders of this world, they’re not listening to educated people so why should we become educated ourselves?” Puddester said.
“Why are we getting an education in a world we’re not going to be able to utilize because it’s being destroyed.”