Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in several Swiss cities against climate change, the Swiss news agency Keystone-ATS reported.
Around 50,000 marched in all, the news agency estimated, including 15,000 in Zurich and up to 9,000 in the capital, Bern, and in Lausanne.
“It’s about knowing if finally we want to listen to the voice of science,” high school student Jan Burckhardt told ATS.
“Save the climate, please: It’s the last time we ask politely,” read one of the placards at the Lausanne demonstration, an AFP photographer saw. The marches were organized by an alliance of activist groups in Switzerland, including Greenpeace, Swiss Youth for Climate and green groups.
“We don’t want to stop our movement as long as our claims have not been heard, as long as we have not obtained concrete results,” said Laurane Conod, one of the organizers of a smaller march in Geneva.
The climate change protests in Switzerland were in part inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who started weekly school strikes calling for policy change on the climate issue. (VOA)
Mourners will gather in Iceland on Sunday to commemorate the loss of the glacier Okjokull, which was officially declared dead in 2014 at the age of 700. The glacier was officially declared dead when it was no longer thick enough to move. What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano, the BBC reported.
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson will all take part in a commemoration ceremony later in the day. After opening remarks by Jakobsdottir at the ceremony, mourners will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.
“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier,” it reads. “In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. “Only you know if we did it.”
The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally – 415 parts per million (ppm). “This is a big symbolic moment,” Magnason told the BBC on Saturday.
“Climate change doesn’t have a beginning or end and I think the philosophy behind this plaque is to place this warning sign to remind ourselves that historical events are happening, and we should not normalise them. We should put our feet down and say, okay, this is gone, this is significant.”
Oddur Sigurdsson, the glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office who pronounced Okjokull’s death in 2014, has been taking photographs of the country’s glaciers for the past 50 years, and noticed in 2003 that snow was melting before it could accumulate on Okjokull. Glaciers have great cultural significance in Iceland and beyond.
Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-capped volcano in the west of the country, is where characters in Jules Verne’s science fiction novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” found a passage to the core of the planet. That glacier is now also receding. (IANS)