Some one thousand environmental protesters took part in a demonstration in Tel Aviv Friday as part of global protests calling for government action against climate change.
Rally-goers marched along Rothschild Boulevard in the city center, demanding that Israeli leaders call a state of emergency to deal with the issue. They urged the government to take steps to combat global warming, including transitioning to renewable energy, curbing greenhouse gases, and halting investment in oil and gas industries, the Globes newspaper reported.
“If the adults don’t grow up and take responsibility for our lives and theirs, we will grow up. We will take on that role and take to the streets,” Gali Simon, 14, who traveled to the demonstration from her home close to the Dead Sea, told the Ynet news site.
Naama Katz, 14, from Kfar Sirkin told Haaretz that the government’s inaction on the issue of climate change was forcing the young to act.
“I care about my future, I care about the future of my children, and I care about the future of us all,” Katz said. “Because the politicians are not working for our future, we the youth must take it into our hands.”
Blue and White MK Miki Haimovitch told Haaretz that the teens were forced to act.
“These boys and girls are protesting for their future because they know that the Israeli government, unlike many governments in the world, does not have long-term plans,” she said.
תסתכלו על אלפי בני ובנות הנוער שיצאו להפגין הבוקר. ילדים מדהימים, כמו החברים שלהם בכל העולם, לא צעקו ״לחקור את החוקרים״, אלא ״תצילו את כדור הארץ שלנו״. בשביל זה שווה לקום בבוקר ולהמשיך להיאבק. אתם אדירים. pic.twitter.com/joJH0205dV
— Stav Shaffir ???????? (@StavShaffir) November 29, 2019
“They understand that the government is not concerned about the future of the environment, and the health and the protection of the planet, but instead only about its immediate political survival and extinguishing fires. We are in a climate emergency, and the government should act accordingly.”
Protesters in cities across the world staged rallies demanding leaders take tougher action against climate change, days before the latest global conference, which this year takes place in Madrid.
The rallies kicked off in Australia, where people affected by recent devastating wildfires joined young environmentalists protesting against the government’s pro-coal stance.
Teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who is traveling across the Atlantic by sailboat to attend the climate talks, sent a message of support to protesters. “Everyone’s needed. Everyone’s welcome. Join us,” she said on Twitter.
Since starting her one-woman “climate strikes” in Sweden more than a year ago, Thunberg has drawn a huge following around the world and inspired thousands more students to regularly skip school on Fridays and join climate protests.
Further rallies took place in Germany, Hungary, Belgium, South Korea, Poland, England, Turkey, Italy, Spain and France — where environmental protesters took a swipe at Black Friday.
Turnout was low in the United States and Canada, with the protest taking place during the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend. A demonstration in Washington drew about 50 people, another in New York had 100.
Some 200 nations are meeting in the Spanish capital from Monday for talks on finalizing the “rulebook” for the 2015 Paris climate treaty, which becomes operational in 2021.
Scientists have warned that efforts to cap warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are failing and that carbon emissions — which are on the rise — would need to fall 7.6 percent a year to meet the target.
The United Nations has reported that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, hit a record high last year.
The UN has also warned that global temperatures are on track to rise almost 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, which could make some places virtually uninhabitable.