Youths ‘drop dead’ to make a point


Sending a strong message: Activists playing dead as they participate in a climate strike near the environment ministry in Bangkok. — Reuters

BANGKOK: More than 200 young people in Thailand stormed into the environment ministry and dropped to the ground feigning death as they demanded government action on climate change along with thousands of strikers around the world.

The young strikers were chanting “Save our Earth” as they marched into the government compound yesterday, before lying down on the ground to play dead.

“This is what will happen if we don’t act on climate change now, ” said one of the strike leaders, Nanticha Ocharoenchai, 21.

“Today we are demanding that the Thai government declare a climate emergency and stop using fossil fuel.”

One teenager also held a poster that read, “The planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.”

“We’re young, but we’re not dumb. We know it’s happening. We need change. We demand better, ” said activist Ralyn “Lilly” Satidtanasarn, 11.

The Bangkok strike was part of protests taking place in some 150 countries yesterday, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who urged students and others from around the world to speak in one voice about the impending effects of climate change on the planet.

“We’re skipping school because teachers teach us how to work in the future, but if we don’t do this, there will be no future for us to work in, ” said Peem Prasertsuntarasai, 11.

Peem joined the strike with two schoolmates, Ari and Jay, holding placards featuring drawings of melting icebergs and power plants emitting dark smoke.

“So what’s the point of studying in school if the world’s gonna be gone?”

A senior official at the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry came out to accept a letter from the students, saying he was supportive of the students’ action.

“This is how young people express their concerns, which we deem as a good sign and not at all a nuisance, ” Adisorn Noochdumrong, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry, said.

“We encourage it.” — Reuters


   

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