The rally on Friday was largely organized by teenagers in over 150 countries and emerged as a grass-roots movement. It came three days before world leaders gather at the United Nations for a highly-anticipated climate summit.
Said to be the largest youth-led demonstrations on global inaction against the climate crisis, millions of people from all corners took to the streets. One thing they all had in common was that their chants, speeches, and homemade signs that had the same stern message to world leaders: Do more to combat climate change — and do it faster, reports The Washington Post.
In a powerful demonstration against the global inaction, young people from small island nations such as Kiribati to war-torn countries such as Afghanistan all demanded that their governments act with more importance to remove the world off fossil fuels and cut carbon dioxide emissions.
“Oceans are rising and so are we,” read the sign that 13-year-old Martha Lickman carried through London. “Whose future? Our future!” shouted students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md, as they made their way to the U.S. Capitol.
People as young as school-going kids reportedly left their classrooms to join in on the protests. “I hope the politicians hear us. They don’t really seem to be doing anything,” said Albe Gils, 18, who skipped school to join the crowds of protesters in front of Copenhagen’s copper-towered city hall.
Millions of youth protesters in more than 150 countries took part in strikes today to demand action on the climate crisis pic.twitter.com/TPuw9nsmKT— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 21, 2019
Even though the turnout all over the world was monumental, it is unclear as to whether it has left an impact. There is no confirmation if the demonstrations influence the global forces contributing to climate change or compel leaders to make the right calls to save the earth and stop global warming.
But a transformative change is exactly what the marchers demanded, and it includes a swift shift from fossil fuels toward clean energy, curbing deforestation, protecting the world’s oceans and embracing more sustainable agriculture.
🌎 4 million strikers— NRDC 🌎 (@NRDC) September 21, 2019
🌎 2,500 events
🌎 150+ countries
🌎 7 continents
Today, in what was was likely the largest climate protest ever, young leaders and activists fought for the climate, for justice, and for their future. It’s literally the fight for their lives. #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/ZXuLMQTlN8
The strike on Friday, which took place in more than 150 countries, was largely planned by teenagers and emerged as a grass-roots movement. The strike came three days before world leaders gather at the United Nations for a highly-anticipated climate summit.
A lot of researchers have said that today's youth is frustrated with political processes, which they say have failed to address their concerns, most notably climate change.
“I have the feeling that politicians are often just [focusing on] the next vote,” said 25-year-old student Jakob Lochner, who was attending the protest in Berlin.
“If you look around, there are so many people on the street; there is kind of a social tipping point.” Organizer Alexandria Villasenor, the 14-year-old who helped spark New York’s climate strikes when she began protesting in front of the United Nations 10 months ago, smiled as she took in the teeming crowd. “The strike today is going to change the conversation [at next week’s U.N. climate summit],” she said. “They have to listen to us now.”
The speeches from teenagers criticized those in power, both in government and in the corporate world. According to organizers, more than 1,100 strikes took place across all 50 states on Friday.
New York and Boston public schools granted students permission to skip school for the strikes. Several companies also closed their doors in solidarity with the youths and encouraged employees to attend the strike.