by Sigrid Van Eepoel

Following Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s climate leadership, Brussels’ teens have skipped school for the first five Thursdays of 2019 to march through the streets of the capital of Belgium and the EU. Their call for political action on climate change is intended to continue for as long as it takes. Thursday January 24th saw a record number of 35,000 students demonstrating peacefully to shake up the generations in power.

On Sunday January 27th, they were joined by parents and children, grandparents and politicians, unionists and office workers alike, growing to 70,000+ strong and thus proving that their demonstrations are not a mere ruse to skip class. After the 75,000 people who marched for the climate last December, 70,000 may not seem like a big success, but throw in the dreary weather, and what you have is another promising sign that civilians of all ages mean business when it comes to the climate.

We were there too, to show the people in power that we are not indifferent. We want clean air, water, soil and food for each human on this planet. After all, “there is no planet B”, and we are aware that the growing scarcity of those essential resources increases violent conflict and brain-draining migration. We know that changing weather patterns are causing islands and species to disappear and are threatening to flood coastline cities around the globe. Stopping global warming is a matter of justice and safety for both current and future generations.

The generations marching together to call upon politicians to “get their (p)act together” ask: “if not now, then when?”. They are ready to “give up privileges” and change their way of life so that their children and grandchildren may inherit a planet at peace with itself.