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Schools and colleges across Spain demonstrate over climate change
STUDENTS in over 40 Spanish towns and cities plan to join the global strike tomorrow (Friday) to call for political action on climate change – and Spain’s minister for energy transition, Teresa Ribera, has encouraged as many of them as possible to join in.
The worldwide strike and protest is set to take place in 1,600 towns and cities in 105 countries, and mainly involves the education community.
In Spain, kids from primary school upwards are likely to join in, since their teachers consider it a learning opportunity.
Geography teacher Manuel Jesús Fernández of the Virgen del Castillo high school in Lebrija, Sevilla province says the education community needs to ‘get past the idea’ of school being ‘closed, academic and focused on the curriculum’ and to make room for ‘topical issues’ such as ‘equality and the environment’, especially where pupils seem to show an interest in these matters.
Numerous primary and secondary schools in Spain have joined the #TeachersForFuture movement started by primary tutor Miriam Leirós from O Porriño (Pontevedra province, Galicia).
And over 280 university professors and researchers have signed an open letter to politicians worldwide calling for action.
Dr Amaranta Herrero of Barcelona Autonomous University (UAB) says the strike represents a ‘generational injustice’, since climate change has been ‘forgotten about until now’ and today’s young people will be more affected by it than anyone, given that the oft-cited year 2050 is only 31 years away, meaning anyone in school today will be aged between 34 and 49 by then.
By 2050, experts believe air pollution, toxins in water and food, and ‘super-bugs’ resistant to even the most sophisticated antibiotics will be the main direct causes of death, that the planet’s temperature will have risen by an average of 5ºC – enough to cause the Poles to have melted significantly – which will accelerate the greenhouse effect as carbon dioxide frozen into the layers of ice and snow are released into the atmosphere and the seas, causing a rising acid level in the latter and killing off fish used for food.
MEP for Los Verdes (‘The Greens’) Florent Marcellesi says the ‘electoral storm’ in April and May in Spain and Europe is the ‘perfect opportunity’ for the public to demand ‘fair and firm responses’ to climate change.
The strike will not just be a protest march, but an educational movement with informative activities organised across the country – in A Coruña (Galicia), for example, documentaries will be projected in the open air in the city’s main squares and talks and conferences will take place to ‘widen public debate’, according to A Coruña University architecture student Javier Muíños Pereira, one of the organisers.
Granada, Salamanca, Castellón, San Sebastián, Girona, Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona are just a handful of the cities expected to be involved, and various international campaign groups have helped organise them, including Young People for Climate (Juventud por el Clima in Spain), started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg who, every Friday since August, has been staging strikes and protests outside national Parliament in Stockholm, and also Fridays for Future Madrid.
Times of demonstrations vary across towns and cities – many will take place at noon, but some will be held in the evenings – and organisers say they are hoping to bring together members of the public of ‘every generation, social class and political views’, because climate change ‘is not an individual problem’ but ‘affects everyone’, according to Katrina Calderón of Fridays for Future Madrid.
The groups involved say they are planning further demonstrations – possibly as often as every Friday.
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