Three environmental groups have organised a climate change gathering in Central on Friday, September 20, in the absence of a school strike due to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Waste Free Hong Kong, 350HK and Extinction Rebellion HK will gather at Central Ferry pier nine, in conjunction with the Global Climate Strike that will take place in more than 1,500 cities across nearly 120 countries, as part of Greta Thunberg’s FridaysForFuture movement.
“Sadly, the students [in Hong Kong] stated that the current political climate was the reason they were not going to strike,” says James Marlow, founder and director of Waste Free Hong Kong.
Climate Action Hong Kong, which organised previous strikes in the city, posted an update on Facebook in July, saying they were planning a strike for September 20. However, due to the extradition bill protests and larger anti-government protests that have rocked the city since June, the organisers say the march has now been called off, citing safety concerns.
Haruka Cheung, 17, one of the student organisers, told Young Post, "Although we completely agree that the climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to our society today, our decision was based first and foremost on guaranteeing the safety of the attendees, of which many are young people."
Marlow set up the event on Facebook on Saturday, and was subsequently contacted by the other two organisations. They are now co-organising the event.
“The event is last minute sadly, however, we are going to be pushing for as many people to join,” he says.
Marlow adds that they are going to push for a school strike the following Friday too.
“Hong Kong is one of the world’s major international centres,” he says. “It makes no sense to me why we wouldn’t be getting involved.”
Haruka says that though striking is one way of gaining action on this issue, there are other ways too. This is why the committee have decided to promote a social media campaign to demand for more renewable energy resources in Hong Kong.
They are encouraging people to write #morethan1% on their arm, and post it online across various social media channels.
"We are planning more initiatives for the future and hope that we will be able to take part in the next strike once we can guarantee the safety of everyone there," says Haruka.
Last year, SCMP reported that less than 1 per cent of Hong Kong’s energy is generated from renewables.
Marlow chose tomorrow's location due to its reputation as a bustling tourist area, with high foot traffic. He says they will engage with locals and tourists as much as possible and push for people to join them throughout the day.