February 18, 2019
A ‘climate revolution’ was the goal of the 200-odd student protesters who gathered in Dam Square on February 14. Organized for the second time this month by the civil society group Students for Climate, the protest specifically asked high school students to pose the question ‘Why study for a future you won’t have?’. The strike is a part of a growing global movement which has inspired students all over the world to boycott their classes in order to call for governments to take more drastic actions against climate change.
Lennart Tiller, 21, participated in the protest as a member of the activist group Extinction Rebellion. There has been a shift within the global climate change movement since winter of last year, he noted. The movement was started by 16-year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg last autumn, and has gained worldwide momentum since her speech at the United Nations climate conference in December 2018. “People really seem to realize that normal activism isn’t enough anymore”, said Tiller. “It’s not just climate change anymore. It’s a climate emergency”, he stated.
Marching towards Leidseplein around 1 pm, the crowd shouted “What do we want? Climate Justice!” and “We don’t want pollution, we want inter-revolution!”. Mina, 18, skipped school in order to take part in the protest. “The world is our home. And we clean our mess at home so why shouldn’t we do that at a bigger scale?”, she stated.
One of the speakers at the protest, Director of Fossielvrij NL, Lisa Meddens, stresses the importance for students to realize their right to take a stance against climate injustice. “The public and the media keep asking questions about consumer behavior, whereas the problem we have is so much bigger than just one shower or one piece of meat on your plate”, she said. The real issue lies with the financial ties major fossil fuel companies have with the government and public institutions. According to Meddens, the onus is on students to call upon their schools and universities to break these chains that are infiltrating the education system. “At this point, we need an energy revolution and this is not gonna change by showering less”, Meddens concluded.
There will be a third protest organized on the 21 of February. The strikes lead up to March 15, when climate activists plan to mobilize protests in 40 different metropolises all over the world including Dutch cities such as The Hague and Amsterdam. This map offers an overview of the locations of the different strikes.