The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

Minister says students raising issues about climate change should be supported

Giulia Magri Thursday, 14 March 2019, 14:11 Last update: about 3 months ago

“Students are setting a very good example. Far from punishing them we should march with them side by side,” Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo said today. 

Tomorrow Maltese students will be joining other students and youths around the world protesting to demand that governments and authorities take the necessary action to halt climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT

Maltese students will be meeting at University campus at 12:30pm, and will be marching from Msida to Parliament in Valletta. It is there that numerous other students and environmental activists will be delivering numerous speeches directed to the Government and authorities to take action on climate change and environment sustainability.

“Regardless if we are only ten people or a thousand, the message remains the same; youths and children who are the future leaders and citizens of this country do not want to be bystanders, but we are ready to take action for change”, Steve Zammit Lupi, one of the organisers, told this newsroom. When Steve found out that such a global event was taking place this Friday, he took it in his initiative to make sure that Malta will take part. “I believe that in Malta we are pretty cut off to what is happening globally; as such environmental demonstrations have been going on since last summer.”

When asked whether he is aware of how many schools will be taking part, he said that currently there have been no registrations. “I am personally not expecting coaches with school kids coming to Parliament, as ideal as that may be. I am banking on University and Sixth Forms students to come and I am hope that other schools will organise something at their respective schools.” He said that students from Saint Albert the Great College in Valletta will be assembling in front of the Parliament, alongside other activists and cyclists.

“It is normal to protest, and I want students to feel empowered to go out and protest, on any issue not just climate change. Youths should stand out and be counted and not be afraid to do so.”

Regardless of Malta’s size, we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing about this global issue, KSU President Carla Galea told The Malta Independent. She said that it is time for Malta to contribute for action on climate change and that the youth of the future generation should participate.

“Students will be missing their lectures on Friday to strike in hope of educating the older generation. Thousands will be missing out on their education to take the initiative to educate and demand action to those people who are running their country.”

When asked what the main message behind the strike, Carla said that climate change and everything related to environment sustainability needs to be placed first on the political agenda. “The harm that is created is irreversible, and we need to be looking at longer term plans of sustainability, rather than acting on short term conveniences.” She explained that KSU has been working hard to introduce a recycling system on campus and promote alternative modes of sustainable transport. She explained that at times she felt that environmental issues are constantly on the backbench and are not as important as other issues.

“This strike is as important as the education which is provided to the students. Currently the younger generation is becoming more aware of the situation, what is difficult is the transition of ideas from younger to older generations.”

“We hope that there will be a good number taking part, and most importantly will be present in front of Parliament. We want to see people protesting and airing their opinions of how and why climate change is affecting them.”

The movement started when 16 year old Greta Thunberg held a solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament. Ms Thunberg, the founder of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, has inspired this wave of student activism and just today made headlines as she now has been nominated for a Noble Peace Prize.

 

  • don't miss