Just three days before the UN’s Global Climate Summit, four million people from over 185 different countries took to the streets to demand urgent action on the climate crisis.
These demonstrations were sparked by 16-year-old climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg who for the last year has been taking every Friday off school to protest for climate justice. She began by protesting alone outside the Swedish parliament holding up signs calling for stronger climate action, and soon after, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. This student-led climate strike movement coined the name of ‘Fridays for Future’ and ignited a global movement after Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations COP24 Climate Change Conference. It was here that she pointed out that no adequate solutions are currently in place to tackle the climate crisis, thus calling for a “change to the system itself” in order to find a solution.
Since then, every Friday, thousands of students from across the globe have given up education on Friday’s to protest against the current climate crisis and the lack of action from our global leaders. The 20th September 2019 marked the first Global Climate Strike, in which adults, students and children rallied together for urgent action to tackle global warming. In London alone, 100,000 people protested making it the largest climate mobilisation the city has ever seen. At 1pm there was a national ‘climate alarm’ symbolising the wakeup call global leaders are urged to take to face the global disaster. After the alarms sounded politicians and climate activists spoke, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn called the overwhelmingly peaceful and joyous protests which took place across the globe yesterday - “inspirational”.
Protest sign from one of the thousands of students missing education to attend the strike
The Global Climate Strike umbrella group not only wants a ban on all fossil fuels as soon as 2030, but it also advocates making “reparations” of billions of pounds to developing countries suffering the effects of climate change. The group also calls for a complete switch to renewable energy by the end of the next decade. It advocates the “need to act now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart.” Its manifesto is: to “facilitate and support non-market approaches to climate action”, and “respect and enable non-corporate, community-led climate solutions that recognise the traditional knowledge, practices, wisdom and resilience of indigenous peoples and local communities”.
Quote from Greta Thunberg on placard
The severity of the climate crisis has become an unprecedented global emergency, highlighted by the fact that scientists have agreed we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making. Since the industrial revolution, the world has warmed about 1 degree Celsius, and scientists have attributed more than 90 percent of the increase to emissions of heat-trapping gases from fuel-burning and other human activity. Scientists have also warned that global warming will subject Earth to rising seas and more heatwaves, droughts, storms and flooding, some of which have already manifested in recent weather conditions.
Deputy Editor Megan d'Ardenne at the Strike in Milbank
For more information on the strikes and how you can get involved visit: https://ukscn.org/events/
“You are never too small to make a difference” - Greta Thunberg.