Climate strike: Students want action, not rhetoric

Published by Kayle Crosson on

May 24th, 2019

Thousands of students protested across the country today to call on the Government to take more forceful climate action.

Demonstrations took place in over 15 towns and cities across the country including larger rallies in Dublin, Cork, and Galway.

Over 1,000 strikes are expected to take place in more than 100 countries today as part of the Global Climate Strike for Future movement.

In Ireland, weekly lunchtime Friday protests outside the Dáil have been ongoing since December 2018.

Student speakers who took the stage beside Merrion Square in the capital stressed that the Irish Government’s recent declaration of a climate emergency must be followed by significant action.

The Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this month, making Ireland one of the first countries to do so.

“Declaring a climate emergency is one thing. Acting on it is an entirely different thing,” Beth Doherty of School Strike for Climate said.

“We’re on the streets today, but in a few years, we’ll all be voting. And we will remember the politicians who said something, who did something, who took the steps, and we will remember the ones who stood back and did absolutely nothing to ensure we have a future,” she continued.

James Dunne addressing the crowd Photo: Kayle Crosson

“I was delighted to hear that Ireland’s government has declared a climate emergency,” James Dunne of St Michael’s College said in his address to the crowd.

“But, however good this is, it is one thing to recognize a problem, and it’s another to actually take action,” he added.

The student climate strike movement began in August 2018 when Swedish climate activist and student Greta Thunberg began protesting on the steps of her parliament.

“We cannot rest because the Irish Government have finally declared a climate emergency,” Grainne O’Sullivan from Wicklow Educate Together told the crowd. “We cannot rest until our world doesn’t need a climate emergency.”

Just this week, Greta Thunberg and other prominent youth strikers have called for a global general strike for climate action for the 20th of September to include both children and adults.

Recent figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland indicate that Ireland’s recent reduction in energy emissions is not significant enough to meet its 2020 EU target, and the latest EPA data shows that the country remains way off track to meet its 2030 climate targets.

The 2019 Climate Change Performance Index released in December 2018 also singled out Ireland as the worst performing country in Europe for addressing climate change for the second consecutive year.

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Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.