‘Skipping A Climate Pact Is Worse Than Skipping School’: Belgian Students Take Over the Streets of Brussels

Climate Kids
Students on strike in Belgium. (Photo by DeStandaard)

With cries and signs like “the climate is changing, why aren’t you?” “act now or swim later,” and “less meat, less heat,” 12,500 students in Brussels, Belgium staged the largest national student-led climate strike since the November 30th action in Australia, during which an estimated 15,000 students skipped class to call attention to what students and activists are calling the “climate crisis.” The strike was four times the size of the country’s first #SchoolStrike4Climate strike last week, as reported by The Hill. As sixteen-year-old activist Mariam told the BBC, “there is actually no point going to school if our world is going to die.”

After the first strike in Belgium last week, Flemish Minister for Education Hilde Crevits praised the decision of young people to protest, while at the same time commenting that “skipping classes is not the right method.” But as one of the organizers of the Brussels march, seventeen-year-old Ans sees it, “the climate is really more important than eight hours of school.”

Sixteen-year-old Jade showed up to strike because she wants stronger climate policies. She knows there are science-backed solutions out there, but is upset that leaders have taken no concrete actions. And that’s why, as she tells the BBC, the students will be there every Thursday for the foreseeable future. The rising numbers are in due in part to the expansion of organizing capacity. EcoWatch reports that as of this week, there are now twelve student coordinators in Belgium, up from two.

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