‘There is still much more climate awareness needed’
On Friday, a lot of people from Nijmegen went to The Hague to join in the climate strike. It was so busy that people had to squeeze into trains to get there. Student Saira Wahid was there. 'Should nobody do something then?'
Last Friday, at the end of the international climate week, people from all over the country went to the klimaatstaking (Dutch for climate strike) in The Hague. At the train station in Nijmegen, attendees of the strike were easily visible: the passengers were accompanied by big and colourful protest signs, and were having excited discussions about the changing world climate.
In the train, someone asked the participants: ‘Why are you going to the strike?’ In his view, striking was pointless and just a waste of energy because, as he said, the power to change something lies with a few people at the top. The striker responded with the counterquestion: ‘So should nobody do something then?’
In Utrecht even more strikers poured into the trains. ‘It was so busy that some people had to wait two trains for their connection from Utrecht to The Hague. A lot of police officers were there to watch over the strike. To my knowledge it was all pacifist,’ says Laura, a Radboud student.
It felt like the march had already started at the train station of the Hague. People, young and old, packed with protest signs and paint on their faces, walked to the starting point of the strike, Koekamp. Hester, an Arts student, said that everyone was prepared for awful weather. ‘So marching in the sun and shouting slogans together was the best surprise!,’ she says.
AkkuRaatd member Marina voiced her expectations of the strike: ‘I hope we can make a statement here today. There is still much more awareness needed.’ The atmosphere over at Koekamp was highly contagious. The protest signs in the crowd were worth staring at for a long time: people tried to raise awareness for rising global temperatures with memes, jokes, complaints and even with the offer ‘Don’t f*ck the earth, f*ck me’.
Apart from that, some strikers sang songs and played drums on their way through the city of The Hague. The organisation estimated that there were over 35,000 people, a much higher number than initially expected. The strikers mainly consisted of young people in their twenties. Still, there was no lack of older people and small children on the shoulders of their parents showing their support for the planet.
‘I think it’s important to make other young people aware of the situation we are in, so that maybe they will be inspired to direct their studies and jobs in favor of our environment’, says Yrsa, Artificial Intelligence student at Radboud.
Ruben, Philosophy, Politics and Society student at Radboud, adds: ‘It is important to show your support for environmental issues openly and in a group of like-minded people’. And even if that means travelling to the other side of the Netherlands, students from Nijmegen do not shy away from that.