On September 20th, 2019, millions of youth across the globe striked from school, work, and other institutions to make a statement about the future of the environment. Masses of young people – nervous about the future of the climate crisis and angry at world leaders who fail to take action against climate change – marched into the streets of their cities and protested current administrations. Organizers have estimated that around four million people in thousands of cities and towns worldwide marched, making it the largest climate protest to date.
16-year-old Swedish climate activist whose one-person strikes in Stockholm helped ignite the global movement, Greta Thunberg, told demonstrators in New York City, “Right now we are the ones who are making a difference. If no one else will take action, then we will… We demand a safe future. Is that really too much to ask?”
Sociologist at the University of Maryland, Dana Fisher, defends the youth climate movement by arguing that “they [youth] are mobilized around an issue of consistent concern across countries and across geographic areas. It spans the developing-developed country divide. There aren’t that many issues that would unify in such a manner.”
The major cities that the climate strike took place in London, Berlin, New York City, and other economic and political capitals of the globe. But the same amount of passion was displayed in cities like Des Moines, Iowa, where a mere 500 protesters gathered outside of the State Capitol in 83 degree heat.
Students and adults alike marched through the streets all across the world chanting, “Green New Deal,” “This is what democracy looks like!” and “There ain’t no power like the power of the people!” Protestors stormily carried signs reading, ‘If you don’t act like adults, we will,’ ‘What kind of green can you eat? [comparing money and plants], and ‘Can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!’
This is not the first time that young people have galvanized around a specific cause. Just last year a similar strike took place in March; and the year before that the March for our Lives protest challenged the National Rifle Association through national rallies.
As of the future for this movement, it certainly seems like there is no stopping such a dedicated and impassioned group of youth fighting climate injustice.
By Maggie Di Sanza