Why I, a 17-Year-Old Muslim Pupil, Skip School and Go to the Climate March in Brussels On Thursday

The first climate march that was organized recently in Belgium, on the 2nd of December 2018, was meant for everybody and was a massive succes. More than 70.000 people were present that Sunday, from families to students and climate activists. Even though all these people went to the protest, politicians turned a blind eye to the march. That’s why a different type of march was organised, by and for the youth. As we noticed that politicians didn’t listen to ‘good protests’, on a Sunday, which is a holiday here, we decided to protest on a school day. It’s more controversial and therefore generates more media attention, making it very hard for politicians to ignore it. Since then, pupils have been protesting every Thursday in Brussels and it’s only gaining more and more protesters.

The idea of a youth climate march came from Greta Turnberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, who made an emotional speech about how we are ruining our earth.

I’m a 17-year-old Muslim girl and I was one of the 35,000 pupils who went to the climate march. Thousands of people surrounded me and the view was overwhelming. But at the same time, I was reassured, because I was there with a lot of classmates and people my age.

For me, an introvert, it was a little difficult to be there at first. However, I quickly became used to the proximity of thousands of strangers. It even became heart-warming, because I know that all of those people have the same feeling as me, the same purpose. We are stating our opinion by just being there. We are being rebellious by not being present at school. It felt empowering.


I didn’t agree on protesting immediately and was skeptical at first. I questioned my own way of living and asked myself if me joining the march wouldn’t be hypocritical. I am a vegetarian, and trying my best to become a vegan, but I still wasn’t sure if that was enough for me to go. My classmates convinced me eventually, though. Because, on your own, it’s impossible to save the earth. If we want to bring change, we have to do it  together. It’s not an individual struggle, whole structures need to change: our way of life, our global economy, how public transport is organized, etc.  World leaders should do something about it, because, in the end, it is them that have the power.

That’s why it’s important to protest. We need to gather as much help as possible. The key is to work together. Ruining the climate is not the result of our individual actions and it is impossible to reverse all the damage we and big industries and companies have caused, with a small number of people.

Although most people are proud of the pupils, there is a part that is against the idea of teens skipping school. They claim that a lot of pupils misuse the opportunity to not go to school. It’s unfortunate, but there will always be people that are against you, even though you try your best do to well in life. A lot of pupils just ignored those elderly people. In the end, it is our future, the future of the youth now.

We all deserve to live in a livable earth. My generation, worldwide, is the one that will have to fight for its survival. And tomorrow is a new day to fight for our cause! Let’s hope that the march will result in real changes.