Children and young people just staged the world’s largest strike to save our future
On 24 May, over a million children around the world marched out of school to demand their voices are heard over the growing climate chaos that we all face. Under the banner of #ClimateStrike and #SchoolStrike4Climate, these young people are a powerful force.
Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has inspired children around the world. She’s been on strike, leaving school every Friday, since August 2018, to “urge leaders to do more to tackle climate change”. The movement has soared globally, and the 24 March strike was the biggest yet. Young people around the world marched out of school to share their rage and demand that governments and leaders take urgent action.
As Thunberg noted, young people left school in at least “1623 places” in “119 countries around the world”:
Tomorrow we schoolstrike for the right to a future. In 1623 places in 119 countries around the world.
Everyone is needed. Find or register your closest strike at https://t.co/Fu0gVe3IOc
#fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #schoolstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/CDYlbsjfUi
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 23, 2019
Children and young people have also issued an urgent call for adults to join them on a general strike on 20 September. Well-known activists and academics including Naomi Klein, Margaret Atwood, and Noam Chomsky have now backed this call.
At the last strike on 15 March, over 1.88 million children demonstrated in 134 countries. As a press release from UK’s YouthStrike4Climate noted, May demonstrations are planned in over 123 towns and cities from the South West to Scotland:
Teenagers will be taking part in climate change strikes in places like Truro, Newquay and Penzance today #YouthStrike4Climate #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/972ABxks4J
— Heart Cornwall News (@HeartCornNews) May 24, 2019
It’s great to see another huge #ClimateStrike heading towards the Scottish Parliament. Scotland needs a Green New Deal to transform our economy, cut emissions and create jobs! 💚🌍#YouthStrike4Climate #FridaysForFuture #SchoolStrike4Climate pic.twitter.com/5DIYMzNRrY
— Scottish Greens (@scotgp) May 24, 2019
In London, marchers called for “climate justice, now”:
LONDON MAKE SOME NOISE #youthstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/Vf3G8SKHr9
— lydia stainer🌍 (@lydiaastainerr) May 24, 2019
The latest protests also highlight the urgent:
need for radical reform of the education system to address the ecological crisis as a national priority. [And] an overhaul that drastically increases educational provision.
“The most pressing issue of our time”
The impact of climate breakdown is becoming increasingly visible. So far, 2019 has already seen unprecedented extreme weather such as the devastating cyclone Idai, regarded as one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere. Around the world, biodiversity is under alarming threat, and carbon dioxide levels have reached historic highs. Noga Levy-Rapoport of the UK Student Climate Network said that climate breakdown “poses a grave threat to life on Earth as we know it”.
Yet meanwhile, as Joe Brindle of the UK Student Climate Network explained, “climate crisis is barely taught in schools”.
despite being the most pressing issue of our time it often seems more like an afterthought. It’s about time our education system was brought into the 21st century.
But this also has to go beyond education. We need to halt climate time-bombs like fracking, the new deep coal mine in Cumbria and the third runway at Heathrow. And importantly we need strong action from all parties to boost renewable energy, create green jobs and address the vast inequalities in our society.
The need to act is urgent. These children and young people are leading the way.
Fridays For Future Rojava!!!! Around 50 people joined the action today in Qamislo, Syria! #FridaysForFuture @GretaThunberg @FridayForFuture #Rojava #Syria pic.twitter.com/Vz0GlzOT06
— GreenRojava (@GreenRojava) May 24, 2019
To Australia and New Zealand:
Students in Melbourne have staged a 'die-in' in the middle of Melbourne's CBD, lying on the ground to demand action on climate change. pic.twitter.com/X1zC59NDDu
— SBS News (@SBSNews) May 24, 2019
Thousands of rangatahi in Wellington NZ before storming the steps of parliament! ✊🏽#SchoolStrike4Climate pic.twitter.com/L5zjrsvdxr
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) May 24, 2019
And from India to Africa:
#SchoolStrike4Climate in Delhi#ExtinctionRebellion #FridaysForFuture
India should declare #ClimateEmergency
The rich biodiversity and culture are under direct threat from Climate Crisis. pic.twitter.com/60xCsPLZiJ
— John Paul Jose (@johnpauljos) May 24, 2019
School students in 118 countries are taking part in the #schoolstrikeforclimate. What will our future look like, if we don't act on the #climatecrisis? Is there hope? Students from @StAndrewsZA in #Jozi respond! #fridaysforfuture #fridays4future #schoolstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/TeigxbrME2
— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) May 24, 2019
Young Palestinians marched alongside Israeli teens, saying “this is bigger”:
‘This is bigger’: Palestinian and Israeli teens strike together for the climate
Video and words by 16-year-old school striker Michael Bäcklund https://t.co/spFwLF256Q pic.twitter.com/fkope4xoWF
— Climate Home News (@ClimateHome) May 24, 2019
Around the world, the numbers of young people marching for climate justice has soared. And as others pointed out, this should knock news of Theresa May’s resignation out of the headlines. Compared to climate breakdown everything else is “trivia”:
The most important news today? A #SchoolStrike4Climate even bigger than before, as young people stand up to the greatest threat to our lives.
The rest is, by comparison, trivia. #FridaysForFuture
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) May 24, 2019
Theresa May, the most incompetent Prime Minister for generations, will steal the headlines today
Please spare a moment to say thanks to the #SchoolStrike4Climate kids who have spent hours painting signs & protesting, but won't see much about their efforts in the media
— The Lucky Heron 🌍 (@LuckyHeronSay) May 24, 2019
The UK government and world leaders can’t ignore the powerful force of these children and young people. Their voices and actions are growing stronger day by day. As they must. Because time is running out.
Featured image via Perth School Strike/Flickr
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