Youth go on “climate strikes” around the world: what is happening

From Vanuatu to Brussels, crowds of schoolchildren and students gathered, waving placards, singing and shouting songs, in a joint effort to express their concerns about climate change and reach out to those in power to decide the issue. This promotion is in advance. A letter published in The Guardian in early March said: “We demand that world leaders take responsibility and resolve this crisis. You have failed humanity in the past. But the youth of the new world will push for change.”

These young people have never lived in a world unaffected by climate change, but they will bear the brunt of its effects, says Nadia Nazar, one of the strike organizers in Washington, DC. “We are the first generation that is significantly affected by climate change and the last generation that can do something about it,” she said.

More than 1700 strikes were coordinated to last all day, starting in Australia and Vanuatu and covering every continent except Antarctica. More than 40 thousand students marched all over Australia and the streets of major European cities were also filled with young people. In the US, teenagers have gathered for more than 100 strikes.

“We are fighting for our lives, for people around the world who are suffering, for ecosystems and environments that have been here for millions and millions of years and devastated by our actions in just the last few decades,” said Nadia Nazar.

How the movement grew

The strikes are part of a larger movement that began in the fall of 2018, when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old vegan activist from Sweden, took to the streets in front of the parliament building in Stockholm to urge her country’s leaders not only to recognize climate change, but to do something about it. – something significant. She called her actions a “school strike for the climate.” After that, Greta in front of 200 world leaders at the United Nations climate change conference in Poland. There, she told politicians that they were stealing their children’s future because they were failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming. In early March, Greta was at the Nobel Peace Prize for the call of world leaders to prevent climate change.

After her strikes, young people around the world began organizing their own, often solo Friday pickets in their hometowns. In the US, 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor warmed up and settled on a cold bench in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York, and 12-year-old Haven Coleman was on duty at the Denver State Government House in Colorado.

But going on strike every week has been a big setback for many young people, especially if their schools, friends, or families didn’t support them. As 16-year-old Izra Hirsi, one of the leaders of the U.S. youth climate strike, said on Friday, not everyone can leave school or get to places where they can get attention. But that doesn’t mean they don’t care about climate change or don’t want to do something about it.

Hirsi and other young activists wanted to organize a day where children across the country could come together in a more cohesive, visible way. “It’s great if you can go on strike every week. But more often than not, it’s a privilege to have that opportunity. There are so many kids in the world who care about this issue but can’t leave school every week or even for this strike on Friday and we want every voice to be heard,” she said.

“A crime against our future”

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report that warned that without serious coordinated international action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the planet would almost certainly warm by more than 1,5 degrees Celsius and the consequences of this warming would potentially be much more devastating. than previously assumed. Timing? Check it out by 2030.

Many young people around the world heard these numbers, counted the years and realized that they would be in their prime. “I have many goals and dreams that I want to achieve by the age of 25. But 11 years from now, the damage from climate change cannot be reversed. I prefer to fight it now,” says Carla Stefan, a 14-year-old Washington strike organizer from Bethesda, Maryland.

And when they looked back, they saw that almost nothing was being done to solve this problem. So Thunberg, Stefan and many others realized that it was they who had to push the discussion of these issues forward. “Ignorance and ignorance is not bliss. This is death. This is a crime against our future,” Stefan says.

Leave a Reply