School Strike for Climate Action
Around the globe, many young people are choosing to skip school on Fridays to strike for climate
change and action. They are staging protests and marches to make their voices heard and to raise
awareness about climate emergency and environmental issues. These young activists are taking their
future into their own hands by leading the discussion and by becoming advocates for climate action.
They are demanding that older people in government and industries, whom they blame for global
warming and the climate crisis, wake up, pay attention, and do something practical and constructive
about it—and not just talk about it.
Fridays For Future is an organization that was founded by Greta Thunberg, a young, Swedish climate
activist. The international organization supports a school climate-strike movement which Thunberg
began at the age of fifteen. Her involvement in climate activism started after record, summer heatwaves
sparked wildfires across her country. Concerned about the planet and global warming, she began to
protest by skipping school daily in order to stand outside the Swedish Parliament. There, she would
hold up a sign declaring her intention and demands. Soon, she was joined by like-minded students, not
only locally, but around the world. Since then, the street-level movement has become very popular and
provides a network and forum for students to express their views and concerns about both local and
global environmental issues.
In 2018, Greta was invited to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Summit. She shocked
many with her direct and emotional talk that criticized the politicians, industries, and adults for their
lack of action—as well as their attitudes. In her speech, she argued: "You are not mature enough to tell
it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don't care about being popular. I care about
climate justice and the living planet."
Less than a year later, at another United Nations organized climate-action conference, her speech that
criticized climate leaders, popularly known as the How Dare You speech, went viral on social media.
"My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back
in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet, I'm one of the lucky
ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning
of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.
How dare you! For more than thirty years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to
look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are
still nowhere in sight ... How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and
some technical solutions?”
Through their work and actions, she and her colleagues have expressed their concerns that the youth of
the world, especially those in poorer and less-developed areas of the world, are the most vulnerable
from the affects of climate change. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events,
such as hurricanes, heatwaves, and droughts is one issue. Another is more widespread diseases from the risk of flooding that will make drinking water unsafe and sanitation facilities unusable. There are others
issues, as well, which is why the youth of the world, through Fridays For Future, is taking a stand.
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