The Global Climate Strike Everyone's Been Talking About Has Officially Begun — Here's What You Need to Know
In more than 150 countries around the globe, youths are taking to the streets this Friday as part of the Global Climate Strike with the aim of getting leaders around the world to take more aggressive action against climate change.
The strike is inspired by powerhouse Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and her organization, Fridays for the Future. As her organization’s website explains, the movement “began in August 2018, after 15 year old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter and it soon went viral.”
In September of 2018, Thunberg then decided to continue her strike every Friday until “Swedish policies provided a safe pathway well under 2-degree C, i.e. in line with the Paris agreement.”
Now, the hashtags #FridaysForFuture and #Climatestrike are a worldwide phenomenon, which turned into the global protests happening today. Of course, it won’t just be the teens out there, but adults who care about the changing environment as well. And it appears that a lot of people truly care about the health of the planet.
As The Washington Post reported, the protests kicked off in Australia where an estimated 300,000 people took to the streets of Melbourne and Sydney to demand action.
“Adults are, like, ‘respect your elders.’ And we’re, like, ‘respect our futures,’” Jemima Grimmer, 13, from Sydney told The New York Times. “You know, it’s a two-way street, respect, and I’m angry that I have to be here.”
The protests continued in London where thousands of participants demonstrated in the streets, including in front of 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. The Washington Post reported that several signs read, “Winter is NOT coming” and “I’m taking time out of my lessons to teach you.”
“We’re doing our bit, eating less meat, using less plastic,” Martha Lickman, a 13-year-old Londoner told The Washington Post, “but it’s still on the government to do something.”
Participants are also walking in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Quezon City, in the Philippines, Nairobi, Berlin, and more.
The timing of the strikes is no coincidence. They were meant to take place just three days before world leaders gather at the United Nations for a highly anticipated climate summit.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, The Washington Post reported, insisted that every participating country come with promises of “real action.” That action, he noted, could include vowing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
“I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments,” Guterres told reporters.
“I hope the politicians hear us. They don’t really seem to be doing anything,” Albe Gils, 18, another protestor who kipped school to protest, told The Washington Post. “It’s important that we talk about it now.”
Want to know what you can do as a traveler to be more personally responsible with this planet we all adore? Check out our Green Travel section to learn more.