Q&A: Upcoming global strikes, rise in youth protests, and the concern over health

phys.org | 9/18/2019 | Staff
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Global one-day strikes, driven by young people demanding action against climate change, are planned for Sept. 20 and 27, sandwiched around a meeting next week of world leaders on the issue at the United Nations. The protests grew out of 15-year-old Greta Thunberg's strike last year outside the Swedish Parliament, during which she demanded climate action. The protest caused her to miss classes, which led to strikes by other students, and now to the global protests.

To understand better the issues in play and the particular dangers that climate change poses for the world's children, the Gazette spoke with Aaron Bernstein, co-director of the Harvard Chan School's Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment and a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital.

GAZETTE - Climate - Strikes - Youth - Week

GAZETTE: Global climate strikes, driven by youth, are planned for the next week. Do you see them as a good thing or a bad thing?

BERNSTEIN: The strikes make clear that our children recognize, perhaps more than us adults in the world, what's at stake with climate change. They are going so far as to walk out of class to make us realize how much they care about this.

GAZETTE - Adults - Protests - Children - World

GAZETTE: Adults often dismiss the protests of children because they're seen as inexperienced and don't understand the world. But in this case should we listen to them?

BERNSTEIN: Who has more at stake than the people on the planet who have the longest lifespans ahead of them? It may not be surprising that our children are leading on this because they've been educated on the subject, and many, perhaps most, adults have not. In many ways, they may understand what's at stake for everybody, including themselves, more than the adults in the room. So there's a compelling reason to listen to what they're telling us about what needs to be done.


GAZETTE: Your area of...
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