Youth for the Climate, the school-strike movement inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg and led by Flemish schoolgirl Anuna De Wever, is calling for a national school strike across the country on 7 February.
De Wever recently returned after spending three months abroad, mainly in South America, where she sailed with her sister Josephine Hoerée and her Walloon counterpart Adélaide Charlier, returning by cargo ship. She and her former partner in the movement, Kyra Gantois, are now estranged.
The trip started in Amsterdam in October last year, from where the group set off to attend the climate summit in Chile. However that was cancelled and moved to Madrid. The Belgian group decided to stay on, however, and went to visit a large environmental project in the Amazon region.
“This educational voyage has made us stronger and more determined to carry on with our commitment for the climate,” she said.
On their return, a sailboat was not available, so they booked cabins aboard a cargo ship. Challenged that this might not be the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport, she responded that the ships were sailing anyway for another purpose, and unlike aircraft were not used solely for the transport of people.
“It was a difficult decision,” she told Het Nieuwsblad. “The difference with flying is that those ships are sailing anyway, to transport cargo. Our cabins would have otherwise remained empty. Whereas as an airline passenger you directly suppose the airline, which has no other purpose than to transport passengers.”
The movement will now concentrate its attention on European policy rather than national, since they consider Europe now to be further ahead, with its Green Deal.
The Brussels Times