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A girl takes part in a student climate protest on March 15, 2019 in London, England. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
A girl takes part in a student climate protest on March 15, 2019 in London, England. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)


Massive rallies unfold as students around the world strike for action on climate change

By WITW Staff on March 14, 2019

Young climate activists across the world gathered in gigantic numbers on Friday for a global school strike spearheaded by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Some estimates put the number of strikers above one million as students gathered in cities, suburbs, and villages worldwide in solidarity with the Fridays for Future movement. The European Green Party shared pictures of activists in European cities such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Dublin, Prague, Lisbon, Nicosia, Warsaw, Valletta, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Rome, London, Zagreb, London, Berlin and many more.

In India, students went on strike for the day to protest rising sea levels and floods that threaten to destabilize the country’s monsoon season, freshwater supply, and agriculture industry. In the Middle East, hundreds of students gathered in Tel Aviv to call on Israel’s government to acknowledge how its failure to cut emissions and pursue renewable energy sources was causing water shortages. And in Africa, Nigerian climate activist Oladosu Adenike shared images of young protesters holding signs that read: “Our future matters!”

The U.S. also saw a huge turnout for the country’s first-ever Youth Climate Strike, which was organized by three young women: Alexandria Villasenor, Haven Coleman, and Isra Hirsi, the 16-year-old daughter of Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Speaking with The Cut from the protest, Hirsi said that young people and people of color understood “the urgency” of climate change because they were the ones most likely to be impacted by it.

“These adults don’t really have to live with the problem of climate change, and young people have to deal with it for the rest of our lives,” she explained. “Climate change mostly affects communities of color and low-income communities, and these people live in these areas under these conditions, and we don’t really do anything about it. I think people of color are automatically ignored.”


The architect of the global protests, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, was nominated this week for a Nobel Peace Prize in honor of her work organizing the worldwide student walkouts and strikes. The activist was nominated by three Norwegian lawmakers who noted that climate change is “one of the most important causes of war and conflict,” and that the teenager’s work should rightly be perceived as “a very important peace contribution.”

Thunberg, the leader of environmental movement #FridaysForFuture, has called on young people across the world to skip school and march for change on March 15. According to her, students from 1,769 places across 112 countries have contacted her to say they will participate in Friday’s global school strike.

Speaking before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, Thunberg unflinchingly denounced world leaders for their continued failure to take substantive action to combat climate change.

“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope,” Thunberg said. “But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

“Most emissions are caused by a few people, the very rich people, who are here in Davos,” she added in comments made to the BBC.

Read more about the protests at The Guardian, CNN, and The Cut. And read about Greta Thunberg’s Nobel nomination at TIME magazine.


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