SCHOOL strikers have been demonstrating for four years for action on climate change with an anniversary rally at Leinster House.
It was the 208th Friday when students took placards to the gates of the Dáil, city halls and local government offices across the country under the banner of the Fridays for Future movement started by Greta Thunberg.
During Covid, some demonstrations have had to be held virtually, with young activists connecting online and via social media platforms, but not a Friday has been missed since December 7th 2018.
Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan came out to meet the group that gathered on Friday and thanked them for their commitment and perseverance.
He said their weekly presence has been an inspiration and a reminder of the need to think about the next generation and act now to secure their future.
“That’s why you’re important. It gets us home outside of our day every week that we can’t ignore this, that this is a change that we need to make,” he said.
“When you get very anxious and very, the mere fact of standing here, the mere fact of taking the bus or walking here – that act, that getting off, that willingness to do the difficult thing, to protest, makes a banner , raise your voices – that gives hope, that drives away fear.
“It made a difference. Do not stop.”
This week’s meeting was led by boys from Belvedere College Dublin, including second year students Sam Maguire, Rory O’Kane and Killian Borresen.
Sam has come many times over the past three years and said he has no intention of giving up.
“It’s too important. We need to make so many changes to move away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. You have to keep reminding people of that,” he said.
Rory and Killian were there for the first time, motivated by the dedication of others and some inspiring teachers.
“It’s also because I don’t see enough to make me believe the issue is being taken seriously enough,” Rory said. “We must continue to raise awareness”
“People in there are older than,” Killian said, pointing to Leinster House. “Their decisions will affect us more than them, so they need to hear what we have to say.”
Pádraig Swan, director of faith and service programs at Belvedere, said the school sees the climate protection campaign as an essential part of student development.
“Climate change in itself is such an important issue to get involved in, but by getting involved, they’re also learning how to drive change and good,” he said.
“We have an old motto ‘educate men for others’. A practical application of this in today’s context is that you are a voice for others here.
“Climate change will impact their entire generation and those after them, and they are learning to use their voice well.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/four-years-of-fridays-school-strikers-mark-208th-week-of-climate-protests-42191660.html Four years of Friday: school strikers celebrate the 208th week of climate protests