Students Worldwide Skipped School to Fight Climate Change

Students Worldwide Skipped School to Fight Climate Change

03.15.19
Photo: YR Media
03.15.19

Students around the world stepped away from their desks and onto the streets Friday to protest lack of government action to fight climate change.

They demanded immediate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions are expected to reach devastating levels by the year 2040. United Nations scientists predict widespread disaster including floods, droughts, wildfires and food shortages, according to a 2018 report.

Forty-two percent of the world population is under the age of 25.

“Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope,” activist Greta Thunberg told world leaders in Davos. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel, everyday. And then I want you to act.”

The 16-year-old Swedish student has been skipping school every Friday to protest outside of her parliament. On Thursday, Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Inspired by Thunberg’s actions, international student strikes have been ongoing since August 2018, tagged #FridaysforFuture. While some school administrators and politicians have called for students to be punished, the strikes prevail — and grow.

Friday’s #ClimateStrike included participants from well over 100 countries, making it one of the biggest environmental protests in history.

The demands of the strikers varied depending on where they were organizing around the world, but included aggressive cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a halt in fossil fuel infrastructure projects and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In some places, lowering the voting age was also on the list.

In the United States, over 100 strikes were planned thanks to the organizing efforts of Alexandria Villasenor, 13, Haven Coleman, 12, and Isra Hirsi, 16, — three activists who have staged sit-ins, fundraised online and launched the Youth Climate Strike US (YCSUS).

“We don’t have enough time to wait until we’re in positions of power,” Villasenor said in Elle. “We have to force the world leaders right now to start taking action.”

Find a map of U.S. strikes on the YCSUS site. International strikes are here.

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