In August 2018, at the age of 15, Swedish student Greta Thunberg went on strike from school in protest at the lack of action on climate change. Five months later, the movement she sparked has led tens of thousands of students around the world to refuse to go to school on Fridays. And Thunberg herself has become one of the most prominent voices on the climate today.
Train, not private jet
Last week, world leaders arrived in Davos, Switzerland (many by private jet) for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Thunberg, now 16, was there too – she spent 32 hours on the train, having stopped flying “for climate reasons”.
“I don’t want your hope”
In a speech to the forum, Thunberg said:
Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.
Action around the world
Thunberg’s school strike has inspired young people around the world to take action on climate change.
In Belgium, 32,000 young people walked out of school last week:
32.000 young students on the streets of Brussels today demonstrating for the protection if the planet.
— Maximilian Hofmann (@maxhofmann) January 24, 2019
Others are taking action in Germany:
— Fossil Free Deutschland (@FossilFreeDe) January 25, 2019
In the USA:
ANNOUNCING MY FIRST EVENT! @zerohournyc & I are organizing a massive #FridaysForFuture #SCHOOLSHUTDOWN #ClimateStrike in AMERICA on Friday, March 15th 2019! We'll be joined by @Strike4Youth & @Fridays4future as YOUTH rise up and demand worldwide #ClimateAction! @GretaThunberg pic.twitter.com/qTj9cELIbL
— Alexandria Villasenor (@AlexandriaV2005) January 23, 2019
— Environmental Investigation Agency (@EIA_News) November 30, 2018
The passion of young people standing for #ClimateAction
In Ireland. Powerful stuff.
Every Friday at 1pm outside the Dail.
— Jim Scheer (@jimmerz50) January 18, 2019
— Holly Gillibrand (@HollyWildChild) January 25, 2019
And others are acting in solidarity with young people:
Last Friday we reported live on Facebook from the #climatestrike in Bern, where roughly 1,000 people took to the streets chanting “system change not climate change”. There were marches in many Swiss cities. Do you think these demos will have any impact? #Fridays4Change pic.twitter.com/xiPfyaGwAh
— Nouvo in English (@Nouvo_EN) January 22, 2019
Today i wanted to give up, but then, this happened. Later, a person joined me and a politician that works against climate change asked me to keep fighting!
[Medellín, Colombia]#ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture#ClimateChangeIsReal pic.twitter.com/UpO4ElBHn4
— Juan David Giraldo (@JuanDav63205459) January 19, 2019
The house is on fire
Thunberg finished her speech to the World Economic Forum by saying:
I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.
She’s right – the house is on fire. And most governments are not just ignoring the crisis but actively making it worse. Young people are absolutely right to go on strike to demand a liveable future. We need to stand alongside them and demand immediate and effective action on climate change.
Featured image via YouTube screenshot
We need your help ...
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?