350 scientists back Dutch school kids climate demonstration

Demonstrators for climate change in Amsterdam in 2015. Photo: Depositphotos.com
Demonstrators for climate change in Amsterdam in 2015. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 350 scientists have signed an open letter supporting Thursday’s school pupil demonstration against climate change.

The letter, published in Trouw, says the pupils are right to take action and pledges to back them. ‘On the basis of the facts supplied by climate science, the campaigners are right,’ the letter said. ‘That is why we, as scientists, support them.’

Up to 10,000 secondary school pupils are expected to gather in The Hague on Thursday to protest about climate change. The protest has been inspired by mass demonstrations by school children in neighbouring Belgium, which have attracted tens of thousands of teenagers five Thursday’s in a row.

‘It is high time for political leadership,’ the letter states. ‘We cannot permit ourselves any longer to wait before taking the necessary measures.’

‘If political leadership goes hand in hand with effective measures and a change in behaviour we can solve this problem in time. Otherwise the children you are protesting in support of their own future will be the victims.’


Education minister Arie Slob said last week he welcomes the children’s involvement but says they would be better off demonstrating at the weekend.

‘Education is education and we are not going to give way to truancy,’ he told current affairs show Nieuwsuur on Thursday evening.

The secondary school council VO Raad told NOS it is up to schools themselves whether to report children who play truant to attend the march. Reporting to truancy officers is only compulsory if a child is absent for more than 16 hours over a four week period, the council said.

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