Sparked by 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg's #FridayforFuture, the strike is expected to be the largest environmental protests in history.
We all remember Greta Thunberg, don't we? The 16-year-old environmental activist from Sweden, who roasted the heck out of climate negotiators with her gutsy speech at the United Nations' climate conference COP24 in Poland last year. She told the who's who of the world at the prestigious platform that they weren't "mature enough to tell it like it is". We doubt some of the top speakers in the world will have the kind of courage and swag that this girl has displayed. Before Poland, Greta shamed world leaders and the global elite at the World Economic Forum by telling them they were to blame for the climate crisis. It's no wonder that she has become the new face of the fight against climate change that is mostly being spearheaded by the youth. In August 2018, Greta began skipping school on Fridays to protest outside Sweden's parliament and started what has been termed as the #Fridayforsure movement. Her example has been followed by children all over and this Friday, as thousands of them will be skipping school to make their voices are heard according to a report in CNN. Thunberg has said she won't stop her sit-ins until Sweden falls in line with the Paris Agreement that aims to limit global temperature rise this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Thousands of young people in countries such as Australia, Thailand, Uganda, and the United Kingdom have already skipped school to demand that their governments act against climate change. It seems young people around the world are not in a mood to hear any excuses when it comes to dealing with climate change. With every passing year turning out to be the warmest, these young people sense the writing on the wall better than adults.
It is, after all, a world that they are going to inherit. But grown-ups are not acting very responsibly forcing people like Thunberg to emerge. Over the years, the world has seen some crazy weather events from massive floods, wildfires to heat waves. They have, in fact, become so frequent that they are almost becoming the new norm. Many believe that, if nothing is done to stop global warming, their generation will be left to deal with catastrophic consequences.
Thousands of students worldwide are expected to cut classes and take to the streets to demand that elected officials take action immediately. There is just not enough time. The global climate strike on March 15 is an offshoot of the #FridaysForFuture movement. According to the Rolling Stone, soon after Thunberg began last year, her strike had drawn coverage from Sweden’s biggest newspapers and international media.
After three weeks of missed classes, Thunberg finally went back to school. However, not before she had started an international movement. Since the summer of August 2018, tens of thousands of students in nearly 300 towns and cities in Australia, Uganda, US, and Japan have joined her #FridaysForFuture protest. The CNN reports states that on March 15, students in more than 90 countries and more than 1,200 cities around the world plan to join the strike in what could be one of the largest environmental protests in history.
Adults and school officials may chide the protestors but their logic is powerful and simple: What's the point in going to school if climate change might destroy all hope of a future? They've got bigger things to worry about. They say world leaders only have 11 more years to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, according to a 2018 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
A group of youth-led climate activists in an open letter published in The Guardian called climate change "the biggest threat in human history" and said they will no longer accept the inaction of world leaders. They're taking matters into their own hands, "whether you like it or not." "We have the right to live our dreams and hopes," the letter reads. "Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness." it adds.
The young are also being backed by scientists. A group of more than 100 US-based climate scientists released a letter last week in support of the strike. It read, "They need our support, but more than that, they need all of us to act. Their future depends on it; and so does ours." Scientists in other countries have released similar letters of support. If emissions continue at the current rate, the planet will be warmer by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030. That threshold is therefore critical.
Young climate activists are hoping to spark a widespread dialogue about climate change, and have been greatly inspired by peers in Parkland, Florida, who led a national conversation about gun control after a mass shooting at their school. The demands of students vary from country to country. For example, Strikers in Australia are fighting against a controversial coal mine project and are demanding a full transition to renewable energy by 2030. But one common thread among them is that countries cut greenhouse gas emissions. There are strikes happening in more than 90 countries. For information about upcoming strikes around the world, check out the Fridays for Future website.