Greek students march in Athens for environmental protection

Greek students joined an international youth movement protesting climate change lately, as they marched for environmental protection in the center of Athens on Friday.

Starting from the foot of the Acropolis hill, students from elementary schools and high schools of the Greek capital held a colorful symbolic rally which ended with their representatives submitting to municipality officials their ideas on suggested actions to save the planet.

“All together we can save the planet,” Enrique, a high school student, chanted. “The planet is in our hands,” his classmate Elena added.

Similar slogans have been heard in over 120 countries in recent months by thousands of protesting students. They followed in the footsteps of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who started protesting alone last year and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for her work.

The municipality of Athens warmly supported Friday’s march, as it was held in the framework of a program launched two years ago in Athens and Berlin aimed to raise awareness for the protection of the environment in schools, Vice Mayor of Athens Maria Iliopoulou explained to Xinhua.

City of Athens authorities in cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, Berlin’s local government and NGOs in Greece and Germany have run environmental protection education programs in over 70 schools of Greece’s capital.

The results of the work done at schools will be collected in a report which will serve as a guideline for the municipality’s educational environmental program from now on, Iliopoulou said. On Friday a first step was made with the declarations submitted by the students.

“They hand over to us, the municipal authorities, declarations containing their ideas on what we can do,” the Vice Mayor said.

The students who rallied on Friday shared with passersby plenty of suggestions.

“You should get items you can use again, like cotton carrier bags or metal straws,” Erin Kelikeke said.

“We should take care of the environment, save energy, recycle and do whatever possible to have a healthy environment for us and our future,” Nepheli Tsarnata added.

“I believe that all those who will see us, will do what we are asking them when they get back home,” Marios Psillos, an elementary school pupil, told Xinhua.

“I believe that we should do something to save the Earth,” high school student Christina Zhang, said, raising a banner she had created reading “Saving energy starts from me” also in Chinese.