Chanting the slogan “we want climate justice”, several hundred students of different schools, colleges, and universities in Dhaka thronged Manik Mia Avenue near the Parliament, expressing solidarity with the Global Climate Strike.
Urging the local and world leaders to act against climate change, they also formed a human chain and brought out a procession, where many prominent environmental activists also spoke, responding to the call of Swedish climate activist Thunberg.
The event started around 10 am and continued for nearly two hours.
The Global Climate Strike is the third in a worldwide series of climate rallies organized by school students and led by Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl.
The campaign is currently intensifying among the children around the world, and even at the policy level of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.
Speakers urged the media and political leaders to raise their voice against climate change, and requested the masses, from all walks of life, to be aware of the adverse impact of climate change.
They also suggested that the policy-makers give utmost priority to the issues, and take effective and sustainable measures in this regard, for the sake of a habitable world, especially for the future generations.
Save the Children in Bangladesh and Green Savers jointly organized the event in Bangladesh, aiming at spreading the mandate of young people to local, and global leaders for taking climate action, and ask adults to support them in this regard.
In his speech, Ahsan Rony, president of the Green Savers, declared “climate emergency in Bangladesh,” and demanded that the countries responsible for the climate change be brought to justice to ensure a livable world.
Terming that the congregation was organized for the sake of self-existence, Mahidul Haq Khan, former general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan, said: “We just want a world where the young, and the next generations will grow up without any environmental impact.
“They way the world is going through is not accepted by any one of us. We have to bring changes to get rid of climate issues,” he concluded.
“We believe that the world belongs to the children, who will take care of it in the future. We want such protests against climate change will be carried out, not only by the participating children but also by their successors,” said Save the Children Bangladesh’s Director (humanitarian sector) Md Mustaq Hussain.
Abidur Rahman, a student of Bangla College, alleged that the world leaders are spending more to subsidise climate change as compared to the sum allocated for climate justice.
Eminent personalities including environmentalists Syeda Rizwana Hasan and Iqbal Habib, film actor Ferdous, singer Kona, and writer Sadat Hossain also joined the demonstration, to express their solidarity with the cause.
Meanwhile, several hundred children and youths formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club demanding climate justice.
Several other platforms including ActionAid Bangladesh, Plan International, Friday’s for Future Bangladesh, ULAB’s Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), and BRAC University’s Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research joined the human chain.
Holding colorful placards and banners, they chanted several slogans including “we want climate justice right now”.
10-year-old Simontinee Joy from Apple Tree International School called upon the world leaders to decrease carbon emissions, saying: “Our world is suffering because of the climate change. We have to do something immediately so that carbon emissions can be decreased.”
11-year-old Shama Ahmed, and also a class 5 student of Sir John Wilson School, came to join the human chain along with her mother.
“As we are the living generation, we should be the one to change it,” said Shama.
Action Aid also brought an art installation “Plastic Monster” made out of plastic, metal, and industrial waste representing the pollution around the world.
To observe the Climate Week, the Plastic Monster will roam around different streets of the city to increase awareness among the dwellers.