Youth Climate Strike
Mariel Vander Schuur | Michigan, USA
Like all movements, in August of 2018, the global climate change protests began with a spark—and that spark was 15 year old Swedish school girl, Greta Thunberg. Every Friday, without fail, she cut class to stand, sometimes in the freezing rain or brutal cold, with a sign that read “Skolstrejk för Klimatet”, which is translated from Swedish to “School Strike for Climate”.
Thunberg began her protests alone, largely lacking support of her school strikes from many of her family members and friends, but quickly gained notoriety through means of social media and news outlets.
As of today, in Summer of 2019, thousands of students have joined Thunberg in the strikes dubbed as “Fridays for Future” across approximately 125 different nations, notably catching traction in many of the Western European countries.
Worldwide participation began, for the most part, on February 15, 2019. Youth all over the world first joined the fight, with Norwich, an English city located in Norfolk County, being one of the inaugural cities to take part in the UK Youth Strike for Climate Change.
According to posts on the social media pages of local strike-participants and organizers, the school strikes have become a somewhat regular occurrence in surrounding cities/areas, happening at least monthly, if not weekly.
Maud Webster, a member of the World With MNR, was at the site of the February 15th Norwich climate strike and interviewed various youth participants. They were asked questions such as ‘why are you attending the strike today?’, ‘is it more important to attend this strike over school?’ or ‘what did you think about today’s strike?’. Watch the video below:
The Norwich youth echoed sentiments widely shared from youth all over the globe: the strike on class attendance is intentional, and more than just an excuse to not go to school every Friday. Students are tired of studying for the futures that they will not have, and of learning facts about global warming and climate change in class that their politicians willfully, and openly, ignore. They struck then, and continue to strike now, because if the governments and private corporations that control what we put into our atmosphere and oceans don’t begin working on reversing the damage they’ve done and ‘pull the emergency brake’ (in the words of Greta Thunberg), then they will truly be the end of us all.