The march takes place on the same day as the national demonstration (WOinActie) against the cuts in higher education in The Hague. “We didn’t really have a choice with the date, it’s the day of the worldwide Youth Climate Strike,” says Knowledge Engineering student Marion Meyers. On that day school children, students, but also some companies from all around the world (57 countries so far reportedly) will go on strike and march for the environment.
“We’ve heard of professors telling their students: you’ll have the day off, because we are going on strike and will go to The Hague, why don’t you use the time to go to the climate march? That way we spread the power,” says UCM student Delphine de Potter. It also doesn’t hurt that the provincial elections are held a few days later, adds Bribosia. “We hope to encourage people to vote for a green party.”
The students – who were inspired by the marches held in their home country of Belgium – hope that locals will join the march as well. “We are working with local and student organisations that are worried about the environment,” says De Potter. “Together we form the Climate Action Network (CAN) and for the next three months there will be activities organised by a different organisation each week.” The activities will vary from lectures to video screenings and debates. “We are thinking about organising a policy-themed week when it’s our turn”, says Bribosia. “We don’t just want to criticize politicians but also be constructive in helping them make changes.”
After the march on Friday, which will go through the city centre towards the train station and then back to the Vrijthof via Plein 1992 and the Stadspark, there will be an information fair where the CAN organisations will present themselves, as well as any political party that wants to do so. “We’ve invited them all, it’s up to them to show up,” says Meyers. In addition, there will be music, vegan chili – free for those who bring their own Tupperware – and speeches. Former UM rector Luc Soete will speak, as will the 11-year old girl who protested by sitting in front of Maastricht city hall all day a few weeks ago.