Cork teenagers go on strike joining a global movement demanding action on climate change

Cork teenagers go on strike joining a global movement demanding action on climate change

Pictured at City Hall were a group from Fridays For Future (global movement) Cork from left, Darragh Cotter, aged 16, Caoimhe Cotter, aged 14, Mira Hencki, aged 14, and Saoi O’Connor, aged 16. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

A GROUP of Cork teenagers have gone on regular strikes from school to protest outside City Hall calling for action on climate change.

The Cork Climate Strikes have taken place each Friday for the past four weeks and are part of a global movement calling for action on climate change.

It started with 16-year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in late August last year, when she began striking in front of Sweden’s parliament on Fridays.

The hashtag and slogan #FridaysForFuture emerged, and she has recently addressed both the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the World Economic Forum at Davos.

Thunberg’s inspirational effect for students snowballed and soon there were similar climate strikes all over the world, including Ireland.

The Cork Climate Strike is still a small movement. Four students have stood in front of the Cork City Hall with placards in recent weeks.

Leader of the Cork strike is Saoi O’Connor. “The international goal is to get international governments to align themselves with the terms set out in the Paris Agreement and to limit their emissions, to the point where we could limit global climate change to a 1.5C degrees average,” Saoi explained to the Evening Echo. “But we’re just trying to focus on our own government.

“I prioritise this, because if we don’t fix global climate change, there is no point in us going to school. Greta Thunberg says there is no point in us learning off facts if our governments are ignoring those facts. It’s stupid. There’s a very distinct cognitive dissonance there,” she said.

Darragh Cotter, another activist in the strike, added that they were hoping to harness “the power of youth”.

“The reason we’re striking from school is that the only power we really have against the government is that we’re required to go to school. So if we don’t go to school, they have to look at why and propose a solution. The reason we’re not going to school is that if they’re not working on climate action, they’re going to have to at least address it. They can’t pretend they aren’t hearing anything.”

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