The U.K. has been rocked by climate change focused activity in recent months. In February the environmentally-conscious school strikes in support of climate change action, that were taking base globally, kicked off in Britain. The climate strike by school children was inspired by 16-year-old schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, who first held a solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament in August 2016, and then attended the World Economic Forum at Davos.
April 2019 has seen London hit by a range of direct action climate change protests, led by a group called Extinction Rebellion. The mass protests in London have seen roads blocked and transport services, like the Underground disrupted, and access to public places, such as the Natural History Museum hampered.
Extinction Rebellion aims to use direct action to force governments to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a “sixth mass extinction”.
Expressing sympathy with the aims of the protest movement, Thunberg was invited to address the U.K. parliament on April 23, 2019. Thunberg, who has given up flying, travelled for two days by train to reach the U.K.
The young activist told a packed room of politicians her future and those of her fellow children had been “sold so that a small number of people can make unimaginable amounts of money”. She also noted that it was important for politicians to act on environmental issues since “most emissions aren’t caused by individuals, they’re caused by corporations and states”.
Thunberg also remarked that the U.K. government’s active support for fossil fuels and airport expansion is “beyond absurd”. She also told the Members of Parliament that “this ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.”
Greta Thunberg also got to meet the leaders of each of the U.K.’s main political parties, including Labour and the Liberal Democrats, except for Conservative leader Teresa May who was too busy to attend.