As school pupils across the UK go on strike today at the lack of progress to tackle climate change, Christian Aid has called on leaders to heed their call for urgent action to cut emissions and ensure a safe and prosperous planet for today's children.
Tens of thousands of students around the world have followed in the footsteps of Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who has gone on strike from school every Friday and spent the day outside the Swedish Parliament in protest at the lack of action to prevent the climate crisis. Thousands are joining the walk-out today, with head teachers forced to choose between disciplining their pupils and supporting them.
Thunberg told The Guardian today: 'I think enough people have realised just how absurd the situation is. We are in the middle of the biggest crisis in human history and basically nothing is being done to prevent it. I think what we are seeing is the beginning of great changes and that is very hopeful.'
Christian Aid's youth and campaigns manager Richard Baker said: 'It's understandable that children are angry about the state of the climate their forebears are leaving them. It's a bitter inheritance. The fact so many of them feel the need to take this drastic action is a damning indictment of our political leaders. While the nature of the action may divide opinion, the most important thing is that we all listen and respond to what they are saying.
'As Jesus said, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?" Sadly today's children have been given a hostile climate by their parents' generation.'
He added: 'This school strike is a sign of growing anger at the lack of action on climate change, following last year's warning from the UN's expert science panel that on our current path we will trigger dangerous climate change in just 12 years. Climate breakdown is an issue of injustice, both generational and geographic. The world's poor – and young – have done little to cause it but will face the most severe consequences.'
A mass lobby of parliament has been organised for June 26 by The Climate Coalition, of which Christian Aid is a part.