Samoan students join global climate protest

Students in Samoa today joined thousands of student protestors from around the world as part of the School Strike 4 Climate Action movement. 

At Vaiala Beach School, the EcoToa Club, initiated the local protest calling out the lack of action on climate change on the part of world leaders.

The Vaiala Beach students joined 1000 cities and towns in at least 82 countries around the world in the protest.

EcoToa President, Isabella Meredith, said the protest is not the only project they have as a Club.

"We wanted to protest, and create a video to send to Parliament and even post it on Facebook so people can see because I think this is the first one that's ever happened in Samoa and it's by students," she said.

"At the end of the year we wanted to go around to different schools and maybe encourage them to start their own EcoToa clubs."

The eighth grader said their club was established last year by Aniva Clarke, who is no longer with the school but is still a member. 

It comprises of VBS students from grades four to eight, but are always welcoming extra help from the younger students.

"Its really small [club], around ten of us, but to make the signs for the protest we included other kids to come and help us," said the 12-year-old.

Another EcoToa member, Imogen Myer,  said the goal of the protest was to tell the people that the environment is very important and its something not to be taken lightly.

Originally from New Zealand, Imogen has been in Samoa for more than a year. Asked if there is a difference between the two environments, she said: "Yes, there is a difference,  because in New Zealand, we try and fix it ( the environment) and in Samoa, you can see people throwing cans out of their cars."

The School Strike 4 Climate Action movement began in Sweden in August last year when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg missed school to protest outside the Swedish Parliament holding a sign that read: 'kolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate).

Since then it has grown into a worldwide collective.

At the  2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, she told leaders: "I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic," while talking about taking climate justice and the living planet.

"But I've learnt that you are never too small to make a difference, and imagine what we can all do together if we really wanted to, but to do that we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. 

"We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people."

Today it emerged that Greta Thunberg had been nominated as a candidate for this this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

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