About 1,000 people took part in the Student Strike for Climate Action in Hong Kong today, according to the organisers. At the time of publishing, there was no official figure from the Hong Kong Police.
The student-led march to urge the government to take stronger action against climate change is part of the global #FridayForFuture movement started by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg.
According to a tweet from her earlier today featuring an image from the strike in Sydney, students from 2,052 locations in 123 countries around the world are going on strike for the same cause today as well.
One of the student organisers, 17-year-old Zara Campion, told Young Post how pleased she is with the turnout. “It is a lot more [people] than we were expecting and we’re so happy to see that,” she said.
Activists began gathering at Chater Garden in Central at 10.30am, and speeches were given before participants began their march to Legco at 12.30pm.
Student activists has prepare passionate speeches to kick off the march #climateaction #fight4future #climate #studentstrikePosted by SCMP Young Post on Thursday, 14 March 2019
“Hong Kong as a city isn’t doing enough to make a change,” said 15-year-old Holly Farrell. “We are here to support students and countries around the world that are protesting.”
Ashley Cartwright, 14, wants people to remember that “we only have 12 years until climate catastrophe, and we really have to start something now if we want to do something.”
While the crowd consisted of mainly students, parents and environmental organisation representatives also joined the march.
Those gathered marched towards the Central Government Complex in an orderly manner, with assistance from the police. Throughout, protesters, many of whom held signs or banners, chanted slogans such as, “seas are rising, so are we”, and “we want change".
Speaking to the organisers after the march, they told Young Post they'd handed a letter of proposal to a secruity guard at the Central Government Complex at about 1.30pm. The letter suggests that the government include more young people in the climate change conversation, expand the city's use of renewable energy, and form a department within the Environment Bureau to oversee climate action specifically.
“Our next (step) is to wait and see how our letter will be received,” said Campion. “I hope someone will read it and change will come.”
She added that she and the other two organisers of the strike are planning to send a letter to schools by the end of Sunday. “The letter will be about educating the students,” she said. “A lot of them learn about climate change in school, but don’t know how to recycle properly and lead a sustainable lifestyle," she pointed out.
Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, a local social activist and politician told Young Post that “although the number of participants from local schools was relatively low, it’s a good start.”
He also added that the government had been avoiding both the climate change problem, how Hong Kong’s contributed to that problem, and the city's responsibility in addressing it.
“But now the young people are rising while all the adults are staying away from this issue, I feel like there is hope again.”
Ambassadors from environmental group Greenpeace also gave talks about climate change at 12 primary, secondary schools and tertiary institutions from March 6 to 14 before the strike on Friday.
Natalie Ng Sze-man, the community outreach campaigner at Greenpeace said most students were aware of the effects climate change had on them. “Everyone felt it when typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong, and that our winters are getting warmer and warmer.”
Since Student Strike for Climate Action was a global movement, Ng encouraged students to express their thoughts on social media if they couldn’t make it to the march. “Slowly but surely, their voices will be garnered into a force for change.”