What You Should Know About the Global Climate Strikes
What is happening?
According to an article in CNN, People all over the world are expected to walk out of their schools and workplaces today to demand action to address the global climate crisis.
Inspired and notably lead by a 16-year old Swedish activist named Greta Thurberg, young people are in open revolt regarding the state of the planet. Students and older generations are rising from their desks today to disrupt “business as usual” in order to put the heat on their nation’s leaders. The high participation and worldwide reach of the movement are impressive, with large protests in Australia, the Philippines, Kenya, Germany and Britain already taking place before the sun even rose in the United States.
Who is Greta Thurberg?
Thurberg gained worldwide attention in August of 2018 when, at age 15, she took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament to advocate for stronger climate action. When other students began similar demonstrations in their own communities, a movement called Fridays for Future started with strikes taking place every week somewhere in the world. Today, a multi-city protest involving over one million students is taking place.
Why is this happening?
Children are using powerful tools like social media and the internet to create and organize these protests. Greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to increase while daily news reports show their effects, including intensifying storms, rising sea levels and unusually extreme levels of heat and droughts. Not a single country who signed the Paris Agreement, a landmark climate accord that was designed four years ago, is on track towards their goals of reducing carbon emissions and reversing the degradation of the planet. President Trump even pulled out of the agreement. The children of today are not sitting idly while they watch their futures burn.
It is not new for young people to protest. The Vietnam War, Apartheid, and many more movements against injustice have been championed by the world’s youth. However, according to the New York Times, this is different.
This is a new generational revolt, though. It’s not against injustice in a particular country, nor against a war. This is about the future on a hotter planet. Young people worry about the cataclysmic impact of climate change on their future, coloring where they will live, how they will grow their food, and how they will cope with recurrent droughts and floods. The internet allows them to mobilize. They often know more about the issue than their parents do.
All photos from the New York Times.