Worldwide protests demand action on climate change

By Ariel Steinsaltz
Staff Writer

All throughout the world, people took to the streets to protest the lack of action taken on climate change on Sept. 20, according to The Guardian

Employees and students skip work and school to make their voices heard (Youtube).

Swedish student Greta Thunberg started a worldwide youth climate movement about one year ago, with students proceeding to go on strike from their schools. The Guardian reported that this time, the students asked adults to join them — and many did, with employees skipping work to take to the streets in protest.

The strike was worldwide, and different parts of the globe stressed different issues, from “rising sea levels in the Solomon Islands, toxic waste in South Africa, to air pollution and plastic waste in India and coal expansion in Australia,” according to the Guardian. However, the message was a unified demand by the people across the world demanding action to be taken in response to climate change.

The strikes took place right before a U.N. climate summit, which was called to attempt to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed by the Paris Climate Accords in 2015. The Guardian reported that carbon emissions reached a massive high last year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that there is not much time left to cut them down.

People protested in Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, as well as across Japan. There were protests in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and in Nigeria. There were also protests in most European countries. Thunberg spoke at the strike in New York City, where public school students were permitted to miss school and attend the strikes, according to The Guardian. 

The strike was massive, and while exact numbers are difficult to get, it was likely the largest mass protest about climate change in history. Over 2,500 hundred events took place in over 163 countries on all seven continents–including a small protest in Antarctica–and more than four million people took part, according to Vox

There was even a strike at the College, in which many students participated

However, China was missing from the list of nations, as its government authorized no strikes. According to Vox, youth movements in China said they would find ways to protest despite government intervention. 

No big commitments were made to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but youth activists noted that they changed the conversation around climate change, according to Vox

Another strike was planned for Friday, Sept. 27. However, New York City schools would not be excusing students to participate. Thunberg traveled to the summit via sailboat, saying that she wants stricter regulations on airlines, according to Vox. 

“‘My message is that we’ll be watching you,’” Thunberg said at the U.N. climate summit on Sept. 23, according to Vox. “‘We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.’” 

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