Northern Ireland news

Young people to join 'climate strikes' around the world

Children and teachers from Sion Mills Primary School launched their own climate change awareness day to coincide with events taking place around the world. Pictured are pupils Toni O'Brien, Fionn Jones and Alice Williamson with their teacher Dorothy McGinley. Picture by Mark Marlow

PUPILS across Ireland are today expected to join climate protests taking place around the world.

The 'climate strike' will see young people walking out of lessons and lectures to call for urgent action on climate change.

More than 2,400 events are planned in 1,000 cities around the world, with numbers expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 million who took to the streets in March to call for a zero carbon economy.

A march and rally, organised by Youth Strike 4 Climate and supported by Amnesty, environmental groups such as the RSPB and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, will take place in Belfast today.

Campaigners are expected to walk to City Hall where a rally will be held at 2pm.

Earlier this week, Amnesty wrote to more than 1,000 schools across Northern Ireland urging them to allow children to take part in climate strikes.

Spokesman Patrick Corrigan asked principals to "facilitate the participation of your students in this day of action, in whatever way is appropriate for your school".

Pupils at Sion Mills Primary School in Co Tyrone yesterday dressed in green and recycled clothing to learn about climate change at a special event organised to coincide with the global climate strikes.

Meanwhile, the UK Student Climate Network said adults are being encouraged to join young people as they strike.

It is calling on politicians to bring in a "Green New Deal" to cut the UK's emissions to zero and improve lives, changes to education to equip youngsters to deal with the climate crisis and votes at 16.

It is part of a global movement, inspired by teenage activist Greta Thunberg's school strikes outside the Swedish parliament, calling on politicians and business leaders to take urgent action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest strikes come ahead of a climate action summit in New York convened by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres to urge countries to up their efforts.

More action is needed by countries to bridge the gap between the measures they have already promised and what is needed to prevent temperature rises of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impact of climate change.

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