KUALA LUMPUR: Year Five pupil Sasirani Manogaran joined three classmates at a table to write down their aspirations for the future.
“I want fresh oxygen. I want no pollution. I want people to love recycling, ” she wrote on a piece of paper.
The SJK (T) Sungai Ara pupil in Penang was among those who participated in the Global Climate Strike in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“I am so worried about my future, ” Sasirani said.
She said she was very worried about climate change and how human action led to forest fires and the stifling haze.
“Adults are so selfish. They never think about nature and about our future. They think it is more important to use plastics and are not working to stop climate change, ” she added.
Malaysia kicked off its participation in the Global Climate Strike yesterday with dialogue sessions, speeches and mini workshops.
About 200 people, including schoolchildren and families carrying placards, attended the gathering at the Publika Shopping Gallery.
Eugene Chang, 15, said the education system is not doing enough to teach students about climate change.
“Whether or not schools want to pick up this responsibility, it is important for schools to educate students about climate change. If we don’t do anything about it, we will suffer, ” he said.
Gurpreet Singh, 32, said Malaysians needed to correct the defeatist attitude that they could not influence change by contributing their bit.
“When we talk about the environmental crisis, the knee-jerk reaction is ‘will that make a difference?’”
“This behavioural change is the first step we need to take. If we don’t believe we can affect change, change will never be a reality in Malaysia, ” the CEO of Me.reka said.
Spearheaded by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, the global campaign demanding urgent government action to address the climate crisis is taking place ahead of the UN Emergency Climate Summit on Monday.
A big rally is planned today in Kuala Lumpur, with over 250 people expected to gather and march from Sogo KL to Dataran Merdeka from 4.30pm.
Pressure group Klima Action Malaysia, which is leading the rally, has joined hands with Greenpeace Malaysia and Amnesty International Malaysia on the initiative.
Their four demands are to “smash” the wall of political and media silence on the climate crisis, declare a climate emergency for financial and policy mobilisation, raise awareness among Malaysians about the climate crisis and increase visibility on climate narrative from developing countries.
The strikes calling for climate justice, taking place around the world, have seen an unprecedented turnout.
In Australia, The Guardian reported that over 100,000 people picketed in Melbourne while hundreds and thousands showed up in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.
Photos of people marching for climate justice in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and more are also being shared on social media.