Climate emergency ‘meaningless’ without action

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

May 24th, 2019

Hundreds of students and climate activists took to the streets of Cork today to urge the Government to listen to their concerns and take appropriate action to tackle climate change.

The young activists chanted slogans including “listen Leo” and “tell the truth” to highlight their commitment to prod the State into action. 

Earlier in May, the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, making Ireland one of the first countries to officially recognise the gravity of the crisis facing us.

Speaking to The Green News, 16-year-old climate activist Saoi O’Connor stressed that the Government need to follow up the declaration of a climate emergency with urgent action.

“The Irish Government thinks because they have declared a climate emergency, they are wonderful and they have done enough,” she said.

O’Connor, who has spearheaded the rebel city’s climate revolt, added that “anyone can declare an emergency [but] unless you take some action to avert this crisis, it doesn’t mean anything”.

“We’re going to keep protesting until they actually show us that they’re going to do that,” she said.

Photos: Shamim Malekmian

Environmental activists from the Cork branch of the Extinction Rebellion movement, University College Cork’s Environment Society as well as various political groups joined today’s school strike.

The Green Party’s Lorna Bogue said she does not believe that the recent emergency declaration would lead to any tangible change in the State’s climate policy.

“I don’t think we ever expected that Fine Gael would suddenly turn around and take the issue seriously, I don’t think people are buying it,” she said.

“But I think that it is good as a tool to expose the hypocrisy of their policies because there’s a lot of greenwashing has been happening in this campaign.”

 “[The declaration of a climate emergency] was a symbolic move, but climate change is not symbolic, our entire society needs to change in order to reverse it,” she added.

The Cork protest was part of a nationwide climate strike taking place in over 15 towns and cities across Ireland today.

The young revolt is inspired by pioneering climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose refusal to attend school on Friday and instead protest outside the Swedish Parliament instead.

Thunberg’s act of civil disobedience has inspired millions of children around the world to do the same.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.