Hundreds of school students took to the streets across Switzerland on Friday to protest against climate change – and in particular the recently rejected revised Swiss CO2 law.
The protest, that took place in the capital Bern, plus Zurich, St Gallen and Basel, was organised by an independent youth movementexternal link, that is not affiliated to any parties or organisations. It was inspired by the Swedish youth activist, the 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, who recently spokeexternal link at the UN climate conference (COP24external link) in Poland. She has organised school strikes in Sweden.
A further prompt was the decision by the House of Representatives to water down – and then reject – an amended law on carbon dioxide emissions during the recent winter session.
The government wanted to ensure that Switzerland adhered to the decisions of the Paris climate accord aimed at limiting a further rise in temperatures worldwide.
“It has become clear to us that politicians are not reacting to the climate crisis,” said Zurich pupil Jonathan Daum in a statement, quoted on the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.
Keystone-SDA estimated that there were more than 1,000 demonstrators in Bern. In St Gallen around 300-400 students protested at the Cantonal School Burggraben. Too little is being done about climate change, one of the protestors told Swiss public radio SRFexternal link. The pupils explained that they were afraid of what the future holds.
The school’s headmaster said that while he had understanding for the protest, in general the school did not want strikes.