On May 24, schoolchildren and students across the world in 133 countries went on strike for their future.
Looking at just one of those countries – Ukraine – shows the students’ global call to action is gaining major traction. Climate protests aren’t as big here as in other capitals around the world. But the movement is growing, and fast.
In addition to the capital, Kiev, hundreds attended strikes in Lviv, Mykolaiv, Rivne, Kryvyi Rih, Odessa, Bakhmut, Kharkiv and Zaporizhia.
In Kiev, people protested outside the Ukrainian Government on behalf of youth around the country. In order to expose Ukraine’s climate policy, they organized a performance right in front of the Cabinet of Ministers. They displayed images of countries that were “roasting the planet” with the highest greenhouse gas emissions (including Ukraine). The main message to politicians was that global heating is not a made-up story, but a problem that needs action now.
Activists also delivered an open letter with an appeal from Ukrainian young people to the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Two members of parliament attended, emphasizing the importance of education in effective climate policy. They spoke at length about supporting candidates in elections who oppose climate. But as the speeches dragged on, the youth grew impatient and interrupted with chants of “Enough talking, start acting”
From the Cabinet offices, protesters marched to the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, where they called for clean energy for Ukraine. Here are the movement’s demands:
1.Recognize tackling the climate crisis as a national priority.
According to strike organizers, in Ukrainian politics this question is effectively ignored, despite official statements from the Government.
2.Implement and prioritize high-quality climate education.
Everyone should have free access to knowledge of the climate crisis. Information about climate and environmental crises must be spread in the media and in educational institutions.
3.Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ukraine signed the Paris agreement, and Ukrainians demand implementation of this agreement. The new National contribution of the country to the Agreement must lead to a real reduction of CO2 emissions, and repeal state subsidies to coal and nuclear energy spheres.
4.Prioritize the development of renewable energy sources in Ukraine.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, international agreements impose commitments to develop renewable energy capacity in communities instead of burning fossil fuels
5. Enforce systematic and transparent environmental inspections in Ukraine.
It’s the second time this event has taken place in Ukraine as part of the international “Fridays For Future” (FFF) movement, and it coincided with status-quo shifting European elections.
Along with others around the world, youth in Ukraine are extending the call to everyone, no matter what age or occupation, to join a week of climate strikes and action from September 20.