More than 5,000 events are planned worldwide for what is expected to be one of the largest-ever collective calls to action in a movement fuelled by social media under the hashtag #climatestrike. In New York, 1.1 million students in around 1,800 public schools have been permitted to skip school.Dubbed the “Fridays for Future” movement, the campaign wants children around the world to take a more active role in persuading adults to treat climate change more seriously. They are demanding politicians and businesses take the drastic action needed to stop global warming, which scientists warn will lead to environmental catastrophe under current trends.
Many in Pakistan also took awareness rallies holding banners regarding climate change and global warming. More than 26 cities and towns took part in the march all over the country, including Mardan, Mithi, Thatta, Kasur, Kotli, Chagai, Killa Abdullah, Peshawar, Chitral, Gilgit, etc. According to the organisers, demonstrations in Faislabad, Peshawar, Ghotki and Mardan have already started.Meherbano Raja, a climate activist and part of the organising committee, said they were expecting everyone to gather at the Lahore Press Club at 3pm, and then starting the march at 4pm. “It will be youth led because they are the most affected generation and so they will be leading from the front,” she said. “These will include school students too.” In Karachi, protestors began to gather at the Frere Hall at 4pm. Artist and teacher Yasir Husain along with Zehra Zaidi of Karachi Citizen Lab started the event.Cultural activist Sheema Kermani, while addressing a charged group of people, said that everyone should be involved in the event “because it (climate change) is going to affect us all”. She said the aim of the march was to bring climate change to the knowledge of the government as they are responsible for environmental emergencies. As the crowds begun to swell, protestors started chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice!” 15 -year-old Rimsha from SMB Fatima Jinnah also addressed the gathering, calling attention to the fact that people are no longer able to breathe fresh air.”If people love their families and their country, they must understand their responsibilities [towards the environment],” she said. Celebrities as well as leaders, including Senator Sherry Rehman, have called on people to participate in the climate march. In Germany, which has seen large-scale climate rallies for over a year, police said 17,000 people had gathered in the southwestern city of Freiburg, one of 500 cities across the country where protests were planned.
Climate change is a serious threat and world powers must come up with comprehensive strategies to deal with this real threat.