Socialist Worker

School climate strikers prepare for a global wave of action

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2655

Students in London were among an estimated 1.5 million who struck worldwide in April

Students in London were among an estimated 1.5 million who struck worldwide in April (Pic: Guy Smallman)

A huge climate strike was set to sweep across the world this week as part of the latest Fridays for Future school student walkouts.

It will see the second day of globally coordinated action this Friday—the first saw an estimated 1.5 million students walk out in 134 countries.

Students across the globe are demanding that adults treat climate change like the emergency is it—and act accordingly.

In Britain school strikes were planned at least 108 locations.

One of the demands of coordinators UK Student Climate Network is to get climate change added to the national curriculum. They say the theme of this week’s strike is, “Teach the future.”

Sean is a 14 year old student at Queens Park Community School in west London.

He told Socialist Worker that the huge walkouts, alongside action by Extinction Rebellion (XR), have had an impact.

“It’s important—it’s forced people to be confronted at least temporarily with the issue and understand it better,” he said.

Sean thinks part of the reason XR’s action received so much publicity is because “it was done mostly by adults who are harder to ignore”.

This week’s action is set to receive solidarity from trade unionists.


Workers from NEU, RMT and Unison union branches were set to bring their banners to Friday’s demonstration.

Trade unionist Alan Crowe from the European passenger service branch of the RMT transport union plans to be there with his branch banner. He told Socialist Worker, “We need to keep the momentum up on climate change and make the movement as strong as possible.”

Alan said the huge school climate strikes “have been very good”.

“You feel that you’re missing out,” he said. “Especially when you’re sat at work, you have the struggles of everyday life.

“But then you see something like the climate rebellion and you realise there’s a much bigger picture.”

Sean said it was a welcome step that trade unionists have begun to support the strike.

“I think it’s really important to start getting unions on board—and workers on strike,” he said. A vibrant and determined climate movement on the streets is starting to make a difference.

Since the last round of school strikes and XR’s International Rebellion in April the British government declared a climate emergency.

This is a good first step. The movement has to continue to fight not just for words, but for the urgent action needed to tackle the ecological chaos.

Ice melts at chilling rate

Antarctic ice is being lost five times faster than in the 1990s, alarming new analysis has revealed.

Warming oceans are causing glaciers to slide into the sea, dramatically rising sea levels.

The new report, published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, showed that losses of ice are doubling every decade.

That’s a rate much faster than predicted only a few years ago.

Andy Shepherd, a professor at the University of Leeds who led the study, said this process “used to be spoken of in geological time scales, but that has now been replaced by people’s lifetimes.”

The report shows that a warmer ocean in west Antarctica has caused five millimetres of sea level rise since 1992.

A complete loss of the west Antarctic ice sheet would cause a five metre rise, and leave hundreds of coastal cities across the world facing severe flooding.

Urgent action is needed to stem the tide of extreme weather, rising sea levels and a warming atmosphere.

Swarm at town hall in Hackney

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists swarmed Hackney town hall last Friday to demand the east London council stop using the Glyphosate weed killer in parks and playgrounds.

Campaigners say that the herbicide—also known as Roundup—is toxic to humans and animals.

“The world’s most used weed killer damages the beneficial bacteria in the guts of honeybees and makes them more prone to deadly infections,” said XR Hackney.

Greenpeace blockade BP

Activists from Greenpeace blockaded BP’s headquarters in an attempt to disrupt the oil firm’s AGM.

They set up camp outside all five entrances to the building at 3am on Monday.

Twelve activists were arrested by the evening.

Paul Morozzo from Greenpeace said, “We’re shutting down BP’s HQ because business as usual is just not an option.”

No champagne on dead planet

Over 100 people protested as Tory-controlled Derbyshire County Council debated a motion to declare a climate emergency last Thursday.

In the meeting the Tories used their majority to rip the guts out of the motion.

Council leader Barry Lewis said global warming could lead to Derbyshire becoming a champagne-producing region.

James Eaden


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