Cape Town school pupils march to Parliament over government's 'climate inaction'

2019-03-15 21:02
Indian school students hold placards as they take part in a protest against global warming in Hyderabad. (Noah Seelam, AFP)

Indian school students hold placards as they take part in a protest against global warming in Hyderabad. (Noah Seelam, AFP)

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Pupils at schools across Cape Town marched and gathered in front of Parliament on Friday against what they called "government's climate inaction".

The march was held in solidarity with thousands of other students in more than 100 countries under the #ClimateStrike hashtag as part of #GlobalStrikeForClimate.

In August 2018, Greta Ernman Thunberg started the first school strike when she took her activism – to stop global warming climate change – to the gates of the Swedish parliament building. 

Now, across the world, the weekly protests have gathered momentum and students are using social media and dramatic headlines to showcase the impact of climate change.

READ: Students worldwide skip class to demand action on climate

Ruby Sampson, 17, of Wynberg Girls' High School said she initiated Friday's march to Parliament so school pupils would be able to understand the impact of climate change.

"There's an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with Eskom that is being negotiated and that will make climate change much, much worse," said Sampson. "My role is to get the youth informed because this is our future that is being stolen from us."

The IRP maps out how government intends to manage electricity demand in industry, households and business up to 2030.

Cape Town environmental activist, Sarah Farrell, said it was time that the government stopped the use of gas and coal and moved to renewable energy instead.

"It's important that school kids are here today because this [march] is to stand up for their future because they will be worst affected by global warming and climate change. Some of them may not be old enough to vote yet, but they can use their physical ability to demand change," said Farrell. 

In August last year, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe released the IRP for public comment, saying detailed studies and engagements would take place to better inform the energy mix after 2030, up until 2050.

He also said the engagements would ensure that the energy transition undertaken would be a "just transition" and "inclusive".

A memorandum containing a list of demands will be handed over to relevant government departments and the president next week, according to Farrell.

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