On 24th May, the world witnessed 2,300 school strikes in 130 countries, bringing forth a massive global protest. This youth-led protest gathered students around the world that are demanding political action on the climatic changes. More than a million young people walked on the streets from various places like New Zealand, South Africa, India, Europe, and Nigeria.
All These Children Had one Demand – Adults Need to Act on Climate Change.
The youth has taken it upon themselves to do everything that they can to raise alarm against the appalling rate of climate change. All these children walked out of school and on the streets to protest.
After all, what good would their education do if they cannot save their planet?
This “School Strike for Climate” is a movement that was started last year by a Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. She began her first strike in Stockholm outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018. Since then, she has pledged to keep continuing this until her country aligns to the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Following this, youth from 133 countries gathered together for a massive protest on March 15th this year.
Thunberg in her recent feature in TIME said, “May 24 is the last chance to affect the E.U. elections. Politicians are talking about climate and environmental issues more now, but they need more pressure.” The European Union’s voting is set to take place from May 23-26 where 751 representatives will be elected by their citizens. This is the best time for leaders to consider placing environmental issues and climate change at the top of their agendas, and for the public to look out for the same.
This massive protest by children and teens took social media by storm.
Here are a Few Glimpses of What Happened Across the World on 24th May
Coinciding their protest with Africa Day on May 25th, students all over South Africa were out on the streets. The continent-wide campaign #AfrikaVuka demanded that local leaders “commit to building a fossil free Africa that puts people and justice before profits.”
t’s time for the University of Cape Town (@UCT_news) to divest! As an institution doing incredible work on climate change and the impacts we are at risk of, it makes no sense that they are investing in fossil fuels. #AfrikaVuka pic.twitter.com/1arWhgbS0m
— 350 Africa (@350Africa) May 24, 2019
The students and youth of Sweden marched through the streets of the capital Stockholm. Thunberg travelled from London to Sweden in April, following which she had made preparations for the protest. “I’m just going to continue school striking every Friday until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement. It will not take weeks, it will not take months. It will take years, most likely and unfortunately,” said Thunberg to TIME.
The children of Delhi’s schools marched on the streets urging for a climatic change. They carried around banners referring to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) for the assessment of climate change. India, projected to be the most populous nation by 2024, is not doing good in terms of weather. It has seen extreme weather conditions like floods, cyclones, and heatwaves in the recent past, putting the people at risk.
#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) 24 May 2019
Young students took up the opportunity to raise alarm for climate change with numerous school children gathering outside the Houses of Parliament in the U.K. protesting against government inaction. They used placards along with chanting slogans that echoed in the streets of U.K.
A spokesperson for the U.K. Student Climate Network told TIME, “It doesn’t just stop here, which is why we’re calling on everyone to join a week of action in September, starting with the global general climate strike on the 20th. We won’t be silent while those in the global south suffer the devastating effects of climate breakdown, and young people around the world are seeing their very futures being ripped away.”
“There are bigger stories than #TheresaMayResign! Like the planet bordering on ecological collapse!”
— Richard Wainwright (@retchid) May 24, 2019
Around 1000 activists gathered around Melbourne’s business district for a rebellion against raising temperatures. Youth gathered outside Perth’s Parliament House for protesting against unnecessary mining.
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
All set to host the maximum number of events related to the climate strike on Fridays, Germany is throwing the biggest challenge to their leaders. The Germans have listed more than 218 strike events for climate and environment protection to be held shortly.
— Erik Peter (@retep_kire) May 24, 2019
— Kristian Blasel (@KristianBlasel) 24 May 2019
One of the most affected parts in the world due to climate change, the Philippines led a considerable number of protests. There were at least fifteen cities that participated in the protest for their vulnerable archipelago of islands.
“We have environmental defenders going up against fossil fuel companies harassed and murdered, women and LGBTQ people attacked and violated in the aftermath of disasters in evacuation centres, communities beside coal plants complaining of health problems and indigenous groups robbed of lands,” stated Beatrice Tulagan, Field Organizer in East Asia for 350. org, to TIME.
— 350 East Asia (@350EastAsia) 24 May 2019
Support from the grown-ups
Several renowned personalities have backed this school strike movement, urging the governments to take steps for a better climate. Prominent personalities like Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Margaret Atwood have taken to the protests and have given their support for the next event on September 20th.
The event on 24th May has pronounced support to Thunberg from all over the world. With more than 120 countries coming together to battle climatic changes and protect their future, this movement is becoming as big as it can.
Thunberg recently said in an interview to TIME, “I’m not planning to stop this movement, and I don’t think anyone else is either. We have to start acting now, even if we don’t have all the solutions.”
Hopefully, more adults and youth will come together for this movement’s next step even in September. Remember the date – September 20th!
The biggest ever global strike that is yet to happen.
What do you think about this protest by the children and youth? Do you feel it is time all of us join together against the alarming climatic changes? Do let us know in the comments below!