Climate strikers demand “No More Empty Promises” from world leaders

19 March 2021 

Climate strikers the world over demanded their governments take immediate and concrete action on the climate crisis today, taking to both the streets and online. 

Using a “No More Empty Promises” hashtag, Fridays for Future accused politicians of only delivering on vague and empty promises that sit on a far-off horizon. 

“What we need are not meaningless goals for 2050 or net-zero targets full of loopholes, but concrete and immediate action in-line with science,” the international organisation said. 

The failure to act now, according to climate striker Mitzi Jonelle Tan from the Philippines, will mean that, “we won’t even have the chance to deliver on those 2030, 2050 targets that world leaders keep on talking about.” 

“What we need now are not empty promises, but annual binding carbon targets and immediate cuts in emissions in all sectors of our economy,” she added. 

Irish school strikers stayed online for the global day of action, photographing themselves with their protest sign and sharing them on Twitter. 

Teenage Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg shared a photo of her partaking in a socially distanced protest, noting that they were striking in shifts to avoid big crowds and to keep numbers as low as possible. 

“When your house is on fire, you don’t wait for 10, 20 years before you call the fire department; you act as soon and as much as you possibly can,” she said. 

Two years of demonstrations

Today’s strike comes just two years after youth climate activists started taking to the streets and calling for climate justice. 

The first took place on 15 March 2019, with some 1700 demonstrations taking place the world over. 

In Ireland, 10,000 students from across the country came before the gates of the Dáil on 15 March 2019 and called repeatedly for the Government to adopt immediate and effective climate policy. 

Then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed the students participation in the strike, acknowledging that “it is their future that is in jeopardy.” 

Just six months later, 20,000 students took to the streets in Dublin as part of another day of international co-ordinated action. 

“The climate crisis is no longer abstract. It isn’t far-off glaciers or however many species have died. It is right here, right now and it will affect every single one of our lives no matter who you are, where you come from, or what political office you hold,” school striker Beth Doherty told the crowds on 20 September 2019. 

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, school strikers in Ireland have largely stuck to online actions, but hope to be back out and holding in-person protests as soon as it is safe to do so. 

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Kayle Crosson