16-year-old Greta Thunberg knows her stuff when it comes to climate science.
Last year, she was invited to speak at the COP24 summit on behalf of Climate Justice Now and blew away world leaders with her knowledge and honesty about their responsibility to ensure environmental justice. In part, she told them:
“You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular…You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.”
Last year, she staged a sit-in on the steps of the Swedish parliament, but this year, thousands of other young people around the world are joining her.
On Friday, March 15, students from 123 different countries participated in a strike designed to bring attention to climate change and challenge the inaction of world leaders.
It was more than a reason to skip classes – after all, the responsibility for maintaining crops, cleaning up after increased natural disasters, and protecting species harmed by a changing climate will rest on their shoulders.
And as well all know, we didn’t sign up for the mess the generations before us left behind. But in this case, inaction could lead to genuine disaster.
Those watching around the world estimated that 1.4 million students took part in the climate strikes.
150,000 of those were from Montreal:
At least 20,000 students gathered in Syndey, Australia, while the country as a whole accounted for another 150,000 strikers:
15-year-old climate activist Jean Hinchliffe estimated Sydney’s attendance to be roughly 30,000.
Italy accounted for nearly 1 million of the strikers, with impressive scenes in Milan, where 100,000 students gathered…
…to beautiful Florence:
There were 300,000 strikers in Germany. This photo is from the German city of Potsdam:
And students protested on the rainy streets of Munich in the thousands as well:
11,000 youngters came out in Dublin, Ireland:
The protesters carried angry, straightforward, but often clever signs, that read or translated to things like:
“I’d be in school if the Earth was cool”
“My GPA doesn’t matter if I’m dead”
“There is no plan(et) B”
“Why should we go to school if you won’t listed to the educated?”
“I thought my death would be cooler”
“I’m sure the dinosaurs thought they had time too”
Check out this impressive gathering in Prague, Czech Republic:
Even the elementary school children got involved around the world, including those in Toro, Panama:
And it was an impressive scene in Lille, France as well:
A massive gathering also took place in Barcelona, Spain:
And in London, England:
Students from all 50 U.S. states took part in the strike. Here’s a scene from NYC’s Central Park:
The numbers show that this is anything but child’s play. Hashtagged #climatestrike, #schoolstrikeforclimate, and using Thunberg’s hashtag for her now weekly demonstrations #fridaysforfuture, young people turned this into a truly global phenomenon.
Of course, there was both praise and criticism from commentators around the world as well. Many stood in solidarity, but plenty of hecklers told the kids to go back to school or called their actions too small to make a difference.
At this point, one thing seems clear – young people have found their voices, rallied behind a cause that matters to them, and stand to pose one of the most passionate challenges to the status quo we’ve ever seen.
As for Thunberg, who started the movement, she knows the change won’t come easily:
“People keep asking me ‘What is the solution to the climate crisis?’. They expect me to know the answer. That is beyond absurd, as there are no ‘solutions’ within our current systems.
We need a whole new way of thinking….We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way. We are just passing on the words of the science. Our only demand is that you start listening to it, and then start acting.”
Further strikes are planned for April 12th.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
Follow your friends or be the first to join our group