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ARGENTINA | 15-03-2019 16:08

Argentine kids join Global Youth Climate Strike #fridaysforfuture

Kids from five cities in Argentina have joined the global movement of young people striking for climate action

In Argentina, at least three groups of adolescents in Buenos Aires, and others in Tucumán, Mar del Plata, Paraná and Córdoba, are joining the global call of young people for real progress in governmental climate change action.

The strike will take place at 5PM in front of National Congress. "We saw everything that was happening in Europe and we thought we had to do it here, we started to spread it and the impact we had on social networks was amazing," said Carlotta Ambrosi (15) who designed a flyer together with Felicitas Hadad (16) her classmate at Lincoln de Olivos School.

"We have to stop thinking that the only countries that pollute are the developed ones. Argentina is a country that produces high levels of greenhouse gases and nobody cares about that. This generation has all the potential to change what is happening," explained Wara Velásquez, 16, who is in high school at the National School of Buenos Aires.

The coordinated "school strikes" were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year.

 Since then, the weekly protests have snowballed from a handful of cities to hundreds, fueled by dramatic headlines about the impact of climate change during the students' lifetime. Scientists have backed the protests, with thousands in Britain, Finland, Germany and the United States signing petitions in support of the students.

 Thunberg, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, said at a rally in Stockholm that the world faces an "existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity ever has faced and still it has been ignored for decades."

 "And you know who you are, you that have ignored this," she said.

 The rest of Latin America have also taken note. In Colombia, several youth climate strikes have been carried out in Bogota.

"Young people are no longer the future but also the present of the planet and we have understood the great responsibility that we have in our hands", underlines Juan Diego Medina, 21 years old, law student at the Universidad Libre de Bogotá, event organizer like #MarchaDeLosTapabocas and #MerecemosAirePuro last year in the Colombian capital.

In Colombia, the fight must be for "the prohibition of fracking and glyphosate, in Bogota the prohibition of a transport system that runs on diesel and acts that destroy the environment, such as the felling of trees by the mayor's office", according to Medina.

 Across the globe, protests big and small urged politicians to act against climate change while also highlighting local environmental problems:

 . In India's capital of New Delhi, schoolchildren protested inaction on climate change and demanded that authorities tackle rising air pollution levels in the country, which often far exceed World Health Organization limits.

 . In Paris, teenagers thronged the cobblestoned streets around the domed Pantheon building. Some criticized French President Emmanuel Macron, who sees himself as the guarantor of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord but is criticized by activists for being too business-friendly and not ambitious enough in efforts to reduce emissions.

 Raphael Devautour, a high school student, said it was his first protest. "We can feel that something is happening," he said. "When the youths start acting, it get things moving. We saw it in 1968."

 . In South Africa's capital, Pretoria, one protester held a sign reading "You'll Miss The Rains Down in Africa." Experts say Africa, with its population of more than 1 billion people, is expected to be hardest hit by global warming even though it contributes least to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it.

 . Thousands marched in rainy Warsaw and other Polish cities to demand a ban on burning coal, a major source of carbon dioxide. Some wore face masks as they carried banners that read "Make Love, Not CO2."

 . Speakers at the U.S. Capitol in Washington stood behind a banner that said "We don't want to die."

 . Protests in Madrid and more than 50 other Spanish cities drew thousands. The country is vulnerable to rising sea levels and rapid desertification .

 . In Berlin, police said as many as 20,000 protesters gathered in a downtown square, waving signs such as "March now or swim later" before marching through the German capital to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.

 

- TIMES/AP

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