London students to take part in global climate strike on Friday

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden, participates in a School Strike for Climate reform on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sept. 13, 2019. EPA/SHAWN THEW

The future of the planet will be top of mind for a number of Londoners over the next week as students plan to take part in a global protest, cutting class to advocate for increased action on climate change.

Friday marks the start of the global climate strike, a week-long event that aims to pressure countries to move away from fossil fuels and adapt more aggressive climate change policies.

The worldwide climate protest is largely inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who began taking time off school in August 2018 to demonstrate outside of Swedish parliament for stronger climate action.

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Thunberg to U.S. politicians: “Listen to the scientists”

A number of London organizations, including the London Environmental Network and Reimagine Co., have come together to co-ordinate Friday’s local climate strike.

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An itinerary posted to the event’s Facebook page asks London students to show up at city hall for 2 p.m. The itinerary says a protest will take place from then until 5 p.m.

Esther Wendel-Caraher, who sits on the environmental education committee for the Thames Valley District School Board, says students will be allowed to leave class for the strike so long as they have parental permission.

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“Parents have the right to pull their children out of class for things that are valuable,” she said.

Wendel-Caraher also serves as the principal of Kettle Creek Public School in Port Stanley and says her school will be allowing children to participate in a video conference call with those taking part in the climate strike protest at St. Thomas City Hall on Friday.

“When students are asking to try and make the world a better place, we are going to facilitate that in as many ways as we can.”

Global News contacted the London District Catholic School Board to ask if it has any plans in place for Friday’s climate strike protest.

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An email response from the board’s spokesperson, Mark Adkinson, said the board had been in touch with its secondary principals.

“So far, no one has heard anything about it from students or staff,” Adkinson wrote.

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