An estimated 10,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Friday morning to participate in the annual climate march, the first since 2019, as the 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
10,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square for the annual climate march, on October 29, 2021. (VIDEO CREDIT: ARIEL ARBEL / SPNI)
Several key Israeli environmental organizations, including the Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNI), Green Course, Greenpeace and the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, participated and led the march, which is believed to have been the largest environmental event. in Israel this year.
“It is clear that the strength of the public increases year after year,” said SPNI CEO Iris Hann.
“It is especially gratifying to see the significant presence of children and adolescents, who have come to take responsibility for the future world in which they will grow up.”
Participants gathered at 10:30 am in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, participating in educational activities, exhibitions and other activities, before departing through the city to march under the event title “Leaders have run out of time.” . The protest concluded in Rabin Square at 1 pm, where they regrouped to listen to speeches by leading Israeli climate activists.
Several MPs and ministers, including the Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg of Meretz, the Labor leader and Minister of Transport, Merav Michaeli, the MP Limor Magen-Telem of Yisrael Beytenu and the MP Alon Tal of Blue and White, also participated in the March.
– Alon Tal – Alon Tal (@AlonTal_MK) October 29, 2021
“I spoke with young people full of ambition and vigor. They all understand the great importance and significance of the climate crisis.”
The protesters marched with placards and banners, some demanding a change in government, some from the public, and some simply warning of what will come if the situation does not change.
“We are in a climate emergency,” a homemade poster advertised, and another nearby showed an illustration of a penguin over the caption “Please don’t kill us.” A large inflatable balloon, courtesy of Greenpeace, was also seen floating above the crowd as they marched.
“We march for the preservation of nature and our future,” stated Hann from SPNI. “Our health as human beings is directly linked to and dependent on the health of our nature, and it is exciting to see that the future generation of this country and SPNI has been mobilized for a better future.”
When asked why she decided to join the climate march, one participant, Chen, explained her journey to learn about environmentalism and how she works to act on her beliefs.
“At the age of 15, I was exposed to the terrible state of the environment,” she explained.
“I realized that there was no time to lose, and I had to start acting, so I decided on my own to start refusing to wear disposable items, even if it meant being different from everyone, and being the only one against myself. class, or my commander in the army.
“Along with this, I tried to educate others, whenever possible, about what could be done to make things better.”
“I came to the climate march because I cannot sit still while the situation deteriorates, and I wanted to spread what I understood a long time ago. But it is not certain that officials understand and act accordingly.”
However, signs also point to the government stepping up and taking action ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) in Glasgow next week, after receiving strong criticism from both the Comptroller’s report and the public itself. who showed up on Friday to protest.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar agreed to raise the government’s goal of reducing emissions to zero by 2050, after hearing criticism about its previous goal of reaching a reduction target. only 85%.
Israel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
PM Naftali Bennett: “We are responding to the global challenge of tackling climate change, finding technological solutions and joining forces to achieve this important goal.”https://t.co/lNob5ji6hH
– Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 29, 2021
“I am pleased that the government has put this issue on the agenda and is taking a series of measures to combat the effects of pollution on the environment, the health of residents and the economy,” Magen-Telem said of the announcement of the government. of recent plans to address climate change.
“I will continue to fight for innovation and initiative in the field of climate in education, the promotion of green technology, the transition to renewable energy and more.”
Climate activist Chen is positive about the future of the climate movement and the slowly developing awareness of the issue.
“In today’s march I understood that I am no longer alone in this, and although there is a way to go to reach the solution, at least there are people to march with along the way.”