There is nothing vague or delicate about Fridays for Future, a new global student movement protesting against climate change. Indeed, the planet’s youth couldn’t be more serious. In more and more cities, they’re taking to the streets to urge governments to safeguard their future. Fridays is increasingly becoming Global Planet Day. But where did this initiative come from?
The 16-year-old girl who sat outside Parliament
Greta Thunberg is the Swedish girl, aged just 16 years, who started it all back in September last year when she sat in front of the Parliament of her country to demonstrate against the inaction of politicians against the environmental problems battering the world. At first, she did it for a few days in succession. Then it became a weekly protest, with her missing class to head for Parliament with her placard.
It’s that great crusades don’t always spring out of one great event: a simple gesture of determination can light the fuse and bring lucidity to a crisis. This is what has happened with Greta Thunberg. In half a year, her campaign has become a global phenomenon. In December, she spoke at the United Nations’ COP24 in Katowice, embarrassing the most powerful governments in the world through a speech about climate change that went viral, in which she shamed them by railing: “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” And, in January this year, she went on to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos, and has since spoken at climate meetings in Stockholm, Brussels, Helsinki and London.
A global strike for the climate change
Youngsters all over the world have thrown their weight behind their Swedish counterpart, swinging into action all over the planet in just a matter of months. Thousands of teenage boys and girls have joined to form Youth for Climate, a movement that, through stoppages every Friday during school term, denounces what they perceive to be a lack of commitment on the part of governments to really tackle climate change.
15 March was the most important day to date for this global warming fight movement. A general stoppage mobilizing 1.5 million people in more than 1,600 cities in 100 countries, in support Greta’s demands, and the first of their weekly strikes targeted at government.
Fridays are now Planet Day
It is perhaps the first time that youngsters have become collectively aware they’re the ones most affected by the problems of a fossil-fuel economy and global warming. They might not have the solutions – since they are still children – but those in power must know what them, or at least make a much greater effort than they have been so far to discover those solutions.
This is why Fridays for Future is far from being a viral phenomenon that will fizzle out in a few days. Many groups of schoolchildren and university students are organizing locally all over the world, united by the same displeasure at their governments. In cities such as Madrid, for example, they have come up with the idea of “climate strolls”, in which demonstrators wear masks to protest against pollution and contamination in cities.
From now on, Fridays will likely see many demonstrations against climate change worldwide, in which the common denominator is a youth aiming to stir the conscience of society as a whole.
This movement has revealed that many people do not know what it really amounts to, either due to unreliable sources or deliberate misinformation, which has led to a series of myths about climate change. Here we show you one of the best videos to understand the nuclear issues about climate change.
Would you like to receive the best sustainability content in your e-mail?