Global Climate Strike Today: Protests Happening All Over the World
The Global Climate Strike is expected to be one of the biggest in the history of environmental protests, and it is fueled by young people concerned for their future.
Today, Friday, September 20, 2019 marks a global effort of action to fight climate change, address politicians’ responsibility, and call for action. According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, more than 5,000 youth-led demonstrations in 156 countries, including 100-plus in California alone, will demand climate justice and an end on fossil fuel reliance.
The demonstrations today are the start of a week-long campaign surround the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York that will end with another global strike on September 27. The campaign of protests is headed by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist who has gained global recent press for speaking out about climate change.
Today’s timing on a Friday is not a coincidence—students, teachers, and workforce employees around the world have pledged to walk out of classrooms and offices as part of Friday’s action. The demonstrations this week are expected to draw more participants than ever before: the 2014 People’s Climate March saw 310,000 demonstrators rally in New York as 2,000 similar demonstrations took place around the world ahead of a U.N. Climate Summit. The 2017 March for Science in Washington drew 40,000 people and inspired marches in 600 other cities. Global youth-led school strikes led by Thunberg in March and May also claimed over a million participants each.
“We, children and students, don’t feel like we have a choice. … [Politicians] have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence,” said Thunberg (and other activists) in her letter announcing the campaign.
Thunberg will be leading a strike in New York today. City education officials announced that the country’s largest public education system would excuse absences for any of its 1.1 million students taking part in the strike with parental consent.
Students are not the only ones rallying behind Thunberg in the strike. At least 72 trade unions and federations representing millions of people will take formal strike actions. Ben&Jerry’s, Patagonia, and Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics will be among 2,5000 businesses hosting stations for poster-making in stores or closing for the day. Hundreds of employees at tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google plan to walk out of work.
Thunberg’s voice has been echoing through schools and youth communities since August of 2018 when the then 15-year-old protested Swedish parliament over a lack of climate action. She started the viral #FridaysForFuture campaign that would later inspire Friday strikes like today’s.
The movement cites a 2018 report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned world leaders of the immediate concern of climate change—that without bold intervention, devastating climate change would hit harder and sooner than expected.
Organizers of the strikes have noted that they cannot change things alone—not only are political officials largely responsible, but adult support, action, and buy-in is imperative.
“We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry, if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job,” organizers wrote in May.
This week, young climate activists appeared in Washington and offered advice to Congress on how to fight climate change.
“Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything,” Thunberg said to a congressional committee. “I know you are trying but just not hard enough. Sorry.”