September 2019 Climate strike in Cork Photo: Shamim Malekmian

Climate strikers tell Leo to listen up to prevent climate catastrophe

September 20th, 2019

Teenage climate activists took to the streets of Cork today to urge the Taoiseach and the Minister for Climate Action to “listen” to their voices and take action to prevent climate catastrophe.  

The rally was part of the global school strike in which hundreds of thousands of students around the world, anxious about their future, took to the streets of their cities to demand climate justice. 

Micah Neilson, an 18-year-old climate activist, told the crowd of teenage protestors in the centre of Cork that “we are living in a dying planet that is home to billions of species” due to the inaction of adults.

“We are killing off biodiversity. We need to change that, we need radical Governmental action,” he said, urging the State to take action to reverse the accelerating pace of climate change now rather than later.

“Leo Varadkar, are you hearing us? Do you hear the cries of ‘Listen, Leo, Listen,'” he continued. 

Sumaya Mohammed, a 12-year-old climate campaigner, also told the crowd that it was curious how “small creatures” such as humans were causing significant, fundamental damage to a vast planet. 

“Life is too precious to live it in worry and fear,” she said. “Do you really expect us to sit down and just go along with the story? Our future is about to be taken away by people who care about money more than they care about the world.”

Photos: Shamim Malekmian

Theresa Rose Sebastian, 15, also urged the Government to listen to the voice of science and save our planet. “This crisis could no longer be taken lightly. It needs to be dealt with seriously, efficiently and effectively,” she said.

Sebastian said that it is often only the voices of Western schoolchildren that are being amplified, while young people in developing countries face a dire destiny. 

“This is very close to my heart. I come from India. My country is no stranger to the effects of climate change. I strike for [Indians too]. I try that their voices are heard just like others.”

The Cork strike was supported by adult volunteers from SIPTU with Eva Mitchel telling The Green News that the trade union has been providing safety for the strikes since March as it supports all collective action for justice. 

Similar rallies with the participation of thousands of young protestors were held in Dublin and other cities and regions in the country, while over 300,000 teenage activists took to the streets in Australia. 

Last fall, the world’s climate scientists said that to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we need to cut our fossil fuel consumption to half by 2030 and eliminate them entirely by mid-century. 

This spring, the world set another high mark for carbon dioxide production in the atmosphere of 415 parts per million, the highest level in many millions of years. 

About the Author

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.

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