There is No Planet B: Youth Taking Action Before It’s Too Late

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There is No Planet B: Youth Taking Action Before It’s Too Late

Laura Shaban, News

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On Friday, September 20th, 2019, an estimated 7.6 million people took to the streets to march for what is now the most massive climate strike to date. Although exact statistics are not available due to the scale of the protests, it is estimated that almost eight million people participated in the strike. Of those 8 million who share the common goal of advocating for action by world leaders against pollution and climate change, 4 million of the attending protesters were estimated to be students. They strike from a day of school to instead fight for the future of the planet. 

With demonstrations reported in every state and at least 100 countries, the strike was a one of a kind demonstration of unity by millions across the globe. There weren’t always millions participating, though. At first, there was only one. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, began the movement by skipping school to protest outside of the Swedish Parliament building in August 2018. Soon after she began protesting, others in her community joined her, and together, they organized a student climate strike, coined “Fridays for Future.” A combination of speeches, activism, and a significant social media presence helped the movement gain traction among the young and old alike. The goal of the organization is to encourage strikes on Fridays to protest the lack of legislation being put into helping prevent climate change. The movement has, however, faced some backlash; for example, critics are claiming that Thunberg is too young to be leading such a serious conversation. However, much more respect and support her work in helping the cause pick up steam. 

Regardless of the criticism, the movement has endured, it cannot be said that Fridays for Future’s cause is without merit. According to nasa.gov, without action taken against it, climate change will continue through this century and beyond. Due to the high emissions of greenhouse gasses, global temperatures will keep rising. These extreme changes in temperature will lead to more frequent droughts and heatwaves, stronger hurricanes, and a dramatic increase in sea levels. The millions who took to the streets on the 20th and the 27th of September did so with these facts in mind. Various world leaders have publicly responded to the protests, some showing support and pledging to pass legislation in favor of stopping climate change. Others, however, continue to deny the importance of the movement, while some did not deign to respond at all. 

Fridays for Future, which has inspired millions to take action to help end climate change, has shown no signs of slowing down in its efforts to make a change since the Global Climate Strike. Their message is clear: something must be done to help save the planet. No matter how small of action individuals may take to make this happen, whether it be recycling more or donating to an environmental charity, everything makes a difference. The humble beginnings of Fridays for Future prove just how significant one voice can be to start a movement that will affect the lives of future generations.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Thunberg in the crowd on Fridays for Future demonstration earlier this year in Berlin, Germany.