School strikers first global day of action last March successfully shouted at the world “the planet’s on fire, are you listening?“. It raised adults’ consciousness about the scale of the emergency we face.
With today’s second coordinated global climate strikes young people in 133 countries brought way more people and loudhailers onto the streets. Their message got both louder, and clearer: “It’s still burning. We’re not going anywhere. Who’s actually with us?”
The day kicked off with a characteristically direct call out from Greta Thunberg and others organisers for adults to join them for their next global climate strikes on 20 September right before the next UN climate summit. Dozens of famous actors, activists, authors and artists responded and groups around the world have already pledged to stage a week of strikes and actions including a general strike on September 27.
Empowered and emboldened
Even before the sun came up on massive school walkouts that disrupted the streets and parliament halls of Auckland & Wellington, New Zealand or Melbourne or Perth in Australia, FridaysForFuture could sense that day’s climate strikes would surpass the 1.6 million kids who took action for climate justice on March 15.
But the stepchange was about more than numbers. We saw young people everywhere bring the action straight to the halls of power.
In New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, youth stormed the steps of parliament. In Bangalore, India, they occupied the entrance to the town hall. Right across East Asia, from Taipei to Tokyo and Tacloban in the Philippines, children marched up to their government’s Ministries, legislative buildings and town halls emboldened.
— Solutions for Our Climate (기후솔루션) (@forourclimate) May 24, 2019
In Winnipeg, Canada, youth gathered on the steps of the Legislature to send a bold message to their elected leaders: invest in climate solutions, not pipelines.
At today’s #ClimateStrike on the steps of the #Winnipeg Legislature, my son Jaxson had a simple message for Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau “If you want to save the environment, maybe don’t spend billions of dollars on #Pipelines” Jaxson Grey Thomas-Müller ##SchoolStrike4Climate pic.twitter.com/VMTCUu9A33
— Clayton ThomasMüller (@CreeClayton) May 24, 2019
In New York City, students gathered in Columbus Circle for a rally before a march. Students then staged a massive die-in in the middle of Times Square.
And in true French revolutionary style, high school students in Paris ‘borrowed’ a portrait of President Emmanuel Macron from the city hall of Paris’ 19th arrondissement and brought it along to their sit-in.
[#FridaysForFuture] Des milliers de lycéens et étudiants défilent dans les rues de #Paris avec en tête le portrait de #Macron décroché ce matin dans la mairie PS du 19e arrondissement. Ils réclament la «justice climatique». #climatechange #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/T7sUdJoaMM
— La Plume Libre (@LPLdirect) May 24, 2019
School strikes took place in lots of new places today too – for example, in Odessa, Ukraine where students protested together in front of government buildings. Students in Russia who were denied permits to assemble got around this creatively by protesting individually (no authorisation required) and one very brave lone girl stood her ground in mainland China.
In Africa, the action is only beginning. FridaysforFuture Uganda is growing in numbers and determination to keep school striking every Friday. And youth climate action for an Africa free from the exploitation of fossil fuels is just getting started. Tomorrow, marks AfrikaVuka Day with further coordinated actions across the continent.
There will be 56 events happening in over 20 countries across the continent. Check out the live coverage website where we’ll be featuring all the actions from around the continent over the next 48 hours: https://t.co/yRo2iZhE8b #Afrikavuka pic.twitter.com/JiuzY1tK4L
— 350 Africa (@350Africa) May 24, 2019
In many cities across Europe and Latin America, the sheers volume of young people (and their supporters) on the streets was enough to cause major disruption. Entire street blocks, major shopping streets, banks and bridges were overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands marching, chanting, sitting down and making themselves unavoidable (check out this 360 video from Paris). Over 320,000 people were reported on the streets of Germany alone.
Will you join them?
The day is still unfolding as global climate strikes continue. Isra Hirsi, a Somali-American youth striker from Minneapolis and co-founder of U.S. Youth Climate Strike will be among them:
“Our generation needs more than empty commitments, we need action. Young people like me deserve a sustainable future with air we can breathe, water we can drink, and a climate that is safe and healthy. We continue to make our voices heard and it’s time for all our communities to join us”
You can respond to this urgent cry for action today, by pledging to join young people on the streets this September for a week of strikes and actions so powerful it will be as unstoppable the school strikers were today.
On September 20th, we are striking for not just our futures but for future generation’s futures.
— isra hirsi (@israhirsi) May 23, 2019