The puppets were carried by a group of the Harmony Primary Environmental club, who joined undreds of students at the protest. The protest was part of the wave of youth protests that was sparked by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who began the Friday school strikes to try to raise awareness of the need for urgent action to try to prevent fossil fuel induced climate change from being even more destructive. Similar protests took place in other parts of South Africa, and accross the world, under the hashtag #ClimateStrike.
In Cape Town, over a thousand learners from numerous schools across the province gathered with bright coloured posters outside Parliament. They chanted, “Stop denying! Our earth is dying”, “Mother earth, can we fix it? Mother Earth, yes we can!” and “Change your mind, not your planet.”
Sarah Farrel, one of the organisers, said that the protesters were demanding that government halt new fossil fuel projects. They also called for much more renewable energy by 2030. “We want it to be right, front and centre, because it is exacerbating poverty. It is making peoples lives worse,” she said.
Recent extreme weather events, such as Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth which have devastated Mozambique, the floods in KZN, and severe droughts in parts of South Africa highlight the destructive impact that Climate change is already having on humans and environment. The UN IPCC special report has warned that governments have ten years to bring greenhouse gases emissions under control, to avert runaway climate chaos and climate tipping points which might make the planet uninhabitable. We would like to salute Harmony Primary learners Julius Bolligelo, Hannah Elliot, Sixolise Yohane, Chloe Sardine and Musa Khumalo for giving up the first afternoon of the school holiday to raise awareness of the critical need for governments to act urgently and effectively in tackling this issue.