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Thousands of UK students skip school for climate change | News

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Thousands of British children skipped school to demand action on climate change, earning a mild rebuke from the prime minister’s office for disrupting classes, but praise from the energy minister and activists.

Youngsters marched on Parliament Square in the capital, London, on Friday and gathered in other cities carrying banners marked with “Climate change is worse than homework”, “Act now for our future” and other slogans.

The British protests were part of a global ‘School Strike 4 Climate’ movement, which began in August 2018 when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began protesting outside her parliament on school days. 

She even took her protest to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

‘They are not doing enough’

In the past few months tens of thousands of children in Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia have taken to the streets.

Students are asking governments to take urgent measures to address the crisis by bringing environmental reform, system change and declaring a climate emergency.

“We want those empowered to know they are not doing enough at the moment,” Anna Taylor, protest organiser, told Al Jazeera.






WATCH: Five things we can do to combat climate change

“Young people feel betrayed,” she added. “We’re here because the burden has fallen on us to protect our future as they have failed us.”

A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said that while the government welcomed the students’ engagement, the disruption to schools and lessons would be difficult for teachers.

Her energy minister Claire Perry however said she was “incredibly proud” of the young people while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed his support for the “school kids of today whose futures are most on the line”.

‘We are scared’

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world has 12 years left to bring global warming under control before the damage is irreversible.

A landmark agreement was reached in the French capital, Paris, in 2015, with 195 countries agreeing to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels. 

But a string of major climate reports have cast doubt over the entire process to avert runaway global warming, suggesting the Paris goals fall well short of what is needed.

Global temperatures are on course for a rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century, far overshooting a global target of limiting the increase to 2C or less, the UN World Meteorological Organization says.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker, reporting from the demonstrations in London, said: “The perceived lack of action when it comes to governments dealing with climate change head-on has led to a growing youth movement that’s taking its future into its own hands”.





Students want governments to take urgent measures to address the climate crisis [Leon Neal/Getty Images]

“I’m worried because if we keep on doing what we’re doing, we won’t have anywhere to go and we might run out of food and things we need,” an eight-year-old girl told Al Jazeera. 

Earlier this week, 224 academics from Oxford, Cambridge and other universities declared their support for the students in an open letter published in The Guardian.

“(Those taking part in the strike) have every right to be angry about the future that we shall bequeath to them, if proportionate and urgent action is not taken,” they wrote.

Many of the students at the Parliament Square protests said they were taking action in their own lives to cut climate-changing emissions, from eating less meat to cutting out airline flights and walking or biking more.

“This is our lives, our future. If we want to live, we need to make changes now,” Zakiyya, 14, told Reuters news agency, carrying a sign pleading, “We are scared. Listen to us!”

A larger global mobilisation of children is planned for next month.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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