“If we don’t take action now, humanity is just not going to exist very soon,” Lance Lau, an 11-year-old Hong Kong climate activist, told Reuters. “No one is too small to make a difference. We can all start taking action now.”
“By the end of the decade, if we don’t take action, the sea will have risen by one meter and most beaches around the world will have, well, been non-existent,” Lau continues.
Before his school shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lau would get to school an hour early every Friday to take time to talk to fellow students and their parents about what he describes as an irreversible climate crisis.
Outside the school gates, Lau would discuss issues from Australia’s recent bushfires to melting icebergs. On weekends Lau goes to shopping malls with his mother to speak to residents and advocate for change.
This week he was back after the school reopened, taking a stand outside the building before organizing a beach cleanup as part of broader climate action by young people around the world.
“Once again, it’s global climate strike day and we’re with Greta’s movement and the main topic for today is fight climate injustice and defend the defenders,” Lau says while he puts a plastic bottle in a garbage bag.
On a muddy beach opposite the city’s international airport, groups of students wearing masks chanted and waved banners with ‘school strike for climate action’.
Masks remain compulsory in most circumstances, and a surge of discarded pieces around the city has led environmental groups to warn of a growing threat to marine animals and wildlife.
In October, teams of outdoor enthusiasts will embark on the Adventure Clean Up Challenge in Hong Kong. They will swim, climb and kayak around the island to collect the trash.