Mark your calendars. March 15 is the day tens of thousands of students all over the world are coming out on streets for protests against government turning a blind eye towards climate change. The students demand the elected officials act now.
The movement began with Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmentalist, who has protested outside Sweden’s parliament once every week since 20th August 2018 with a banner “skolstrejk för klimatet”, which translates to school strike for the climate.
“I painted the sign on a piece of wood and, for the flyers, wrote down some facts I thought everyone should know. And then I took my bike to the parliament and just sat there,” she recalls. “The first day, I sat alone from about 8.30am to 3 pm – the regular school day. And then on the second day, people started joining me. After that, there were people there all the time.”
The young activist’s movement, #fridaysforfuture, has also inspired kids and teenagers worldwide to take up the cause and organize their own strikes
Greta is not alone now. Students from 125 countries and 2,000 places have been reported to join the strike in their respective places. Students in countries including Australia, Thailand, Uganda, and the United Kingdom have already skipped school to demand that their governments act against climate change. This is going to be massive!
Thunberg wants the Swedish government to keep in line with the Paris Agreement and help in keeping the global temperature rise to a limit to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Many are scolding the students for skipping classes and claiming that the strike is a way to avoid school. The student protestors questions these claims saying ‘There is no point going to school if climate change might destroy all hope of a future.’
The researchers around the world have warned that we have 12 years until it’s too late to undo the damage done. If human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the planet will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as soon as 2030. That threshold is critical.
In an open letter published in The Guardian newspaper, a group of youth-led climate activists called climate change “the biggest threat in human history” and “(they) demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis.”