Climate activists around the world are looking forward to taking their demonstrations back on the streets after months of online campaigns under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
Atlas Sarrafoglu, a 13-year-old Turkish climate activist, told Anadolu Agency they had made preparations to go on a climate strike on April 3, but the event was shifted online due to the looming virus.
“Of course, it’s not the same as being on the streets, but climate crisis does not wait and so we cannot stop,” he said, adding that 4,000 people joined the online event.
The teenage activist said climate change is a serious issue exactly like COVID-19.
“Even though the coronavirus is not caused by the climate crisis, there is an indirect connection,” Sarrafoglu said.
Recalling the bygone days, he said: “My last large strike was during COP25 in Madrid where 500,000 activists were on the streets.
Voices from India
Licypriya Kangujam, an 8-year-old Indian climate and environmental activist, said the pandemic has put a pause on the global climate movement.
“Digital climate strikes are organized to keep our spirits high and our momentum going, but they don’t affect our leaders,” she said.
“I feel like we are put inside a cage like an animal on a leash,” she added.
She said due to the pandemic three big initiatives were postponed.
Referring to the lockdown in India, the child activist said there was a slight improvement in air quality during the first weeks, but things will worsen when the restrictions are lifted.
“Lockdown in India will be remembered as black history for environmentalists,” she said, referring to governmental approval of wildlife clearance to more than 14 developmental projects in 11 states and announcement on the auction of five reserve forest areas for coal mining in the country.
Mulindwa Moses, a 23-year-old climate activist from Uganda, said he does not agree climate change was pushed to the back-burner due to the pandemic.
“Climate change has never been given the attention that it requires as an emergency so it has always been ignored,” Moses noted.
He said political leaders find it easier to ignore discussions being carried online, so it is better for them to protest on the streets.
“I miss so many environmental activities but mostly I miss going to communities affected by impacts of climate change and schools, plant trees and talk to people about climate change,” he added.
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