Dede's Green Scene: Greta Thunberg and the Global Climate Strike! by Dede Tabak, September 18 2019, 1 Comment

On a Friday in August 2018, Greta Thunberg, then a 15-year-old girl from Sweden, decided to skip school and protest outside the Swedish Parliament. She demanded that local politicians enact policies in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action, and set off the global Fridays for Future movement. Since then, students all over the world skip school on Fridays and sit on the steps of their local governments to demand action toward protecting the environment and everyone's future.

“The climate crisis was a huge cause of that because I just felt that everything is hopeless and there is nothing I can do,” the now 16-year-old Thunberg said to supporters when she arrived in the NY Harbor on August 28th, 2019. “I was desperate, in a way, to do something — anything — and this idea of school striking came up, and I thought I might as well try that and see if it works, and if it doesn’t, I will try something else.” 

After sailing 13 days on a solar- and wind-powered boat to travel to New York City, Thunberg is now bringing the fight to the United States. Thunberg is scheduled to speak at the UN Climate Summit on September 23 and join in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th and 27th. Thunberg sat down with Trevor Noah from the Daily Show to promote the strike and to incite others to take action as well.

When Noah asked Thunberg if she noticed a different feeling surrounding climate change between her home country and the U.S., she responded, “I would say yes. Because here, it feels like it is being discussed as something you believe in or [do] not believe in. And where I come from, it’s more like, it’s a fact.”

This Friday, September 20th, Thunberg and the U.S. Youth Climate Strike Coalition have pledged a massive school walkout, which aims to bring awareness to the climate crisis in the days leading up to the UN’s climate change summit. The U.S. Youth Climate Strike, made up of eight youth-led groups, is demanding changes from U.N. leaders that include support for the Green New Deal, implementation of sustainable agriculture, and the protection of indigenous lands and waterways.

This strike may have been organized by students, but this time they’re asking adults to join in as well. Nearly 1,000 Amazon employees at the company’s Seattle headquarters have pledged to walk out, and Seventh Generation has donated this week's airtime to the Youth Climate movement to promote the strike. Google and Microsoft employees have announced they are joining Amazon employees in walking out on September 20th, and businesses like Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, Burton, and Lush have agreed to close their U.S. stores in support. Other local businesses (like EcoPlum!) are signing the American Sustainable Business Council's statement supporting the strike. If you're a business looking to lend your support to the Global Climate Strike, check out the ASBC website for tips

According to 350.org, a non-profit dedicated to climate change awareness, at least 450 U.S. climate strikes and 2,500 global strikes are registered so far. In New York City, public schools are excusing students who are absent from school to strike (with parental consent). The organizers understand that not everyone has the privilege of walking out of their school or job, so if people want to participate, they can use the hashtag #climatestrike on September 20th and add graphics to their social media pages in support.

Here is a link to the Global Strike website to download images to post.

There are also many events between September 20th and the next strike on September 27th to raise awareness and educate the masses on climate change.

“What do you think people should do, and what do you think governments should do?”, Trevor Noah asked during the Daily Show interview with Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg explained that people should do “everything” that they can to prevent climate change. But if she had to choose one, it would be, “Inform yourself.” She added that they should then push for a political movement that addresses climate change because such a movement “doesn’t exist now.”

“I think that what we should do as individuals is use the power of democracy to make our voices heard so that the people in power cannot continue to ignore this,” Thunberg added.

If you’re in New York City and would like to participate in the Global Climate Strike and have your voice be heard on September 20th, meet at noon at Foley Square.