Serbia will this week join the Fridays for Future global climate protests, inspired by now 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden. The protest will begin at 4 pm this Friday, April 5, at Belgrade’s Pionirski Park, the organizers have announced.
The Fridays for Future protest is planned to be attended by elementary and secondary schoolchildren from Belgrade, with permission from parents and teachers, as well as by all other citizens interested in supporting the gathering. Intended as a peaceful protest, limited to the park area, the gathering is not planned to turn into a march, according to the organizers.
Milica Damnjanović Zantvoort, a landscaping and horticultural engineer and one of the organizers, told Balkan Green Energy News that while following Greta Thunberg’s work, she noticed a lack of initiative for Serbia to join the school strike for climate, so she decided to initiate the protests in the country herself unless something changed by March 15.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 16, 2018
Asked how many participants she expects, she said: “Frankly, when I started this, I thought the participants would be my mom, a neighbor, and I, but then young people and people from my line of work and other sectors started joining us, and now we expect the protest to gather more than the originally projected 20-100 participants.”
The organizers say the protest is aimed at highlighting the Paris Agreement goals and the importance of limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as well as pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial levels.
Facts, urgent climate action, environmental studies sought
One of the demands is to publish facts about the state of the environment, organizers say.
“We do not have information about the state of our environment today. We are witness to air, water, and land pollution, but we do not know how bad the situation really is and how it is to improve,” they say.
Urgent climate action is also sought. “We want Serbia to adopt a plan to combat climate change, to include measures to reduce emissions, measures for forestation, and other necessary measures,” organizers say.
They are also calling for environmental studies to be introduced at all levels of education to develop knowledge about the environment and skills to conserve it.
The organizers list the following protest rules:
- No violence;
- No demolition and no damage to the public area;
- No littering;
- No hate speech;
- The protest is and will remain not-for-profit;
- The organizers cite scientific data and facts on accelerated climate change.
The global movement kicked off by Greta Thunberg has so far spread to more than 130 countries. Prior to students from Serbia, it was joined by high school kids from Croatia, Slovenia, and other countries in the region.