Young people from around the world are skipping school on Friday to protest governmental inaction on climate change, with students in 112 countries taking to the streets to demand that their governments take the looming threat of climate change seriously, according to HuffPost.
According to organizers, over 1,700 locations and counting will play host to groups of young people taking to the streets to call attention to the dire nature of climate change, as well as to the tiny window of remaining time for humans to do anything about it before systems begin to collapse irreversibly.
“With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people,” said Alexandria Villasenor, the 13-year-old co-leader of the U.S. event.
The youth-led movement was sparked by unlikely hero Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student who went on strike from school last year after Sweden experienced its hottest summer on record. For weeks on end, Thunberg sat alone outside Sweden’s parliament, holding a sign that read “School strike for climate,” and demanding that politicians enact policies in keeping with the agreements hammered out at the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. Time reported that some argue that because the Paris Climate Accord is an incremental and ultimately non-binding agreement, it doesn’t go nearly far enough, as did a piece in New Scientist.
And Thunberg didn’t mince words when it came to laying the blame for climate inaction.
“I am doing this because you adults are sh***ing on my future.”
Thunberg took the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by storm in January when she spoke passionately about the recent U.N. findings showing that irreversible climate change will be here within 12 years. This prognosis comes even in the event that all of the goals of the Paris agreement are enacted — and even if we were to go much, much further with sweeping cuts to fossil fuel use, according to a Corporate Accountability study.
“I am here to say our house is on fire,” she said. “I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as if you would in a crisis.”
And although Thunberg remains steadfastly on message about the environment — and seldom allows the focus to be on her, personally, for any length of time — a trio of Norwegian lawmakers have nominated her for a Nobel Peace prize, saying that she has single-handedly “launched a mass movement that I [we] see as a major contribution to peace.”
Friday’s strike is scheduled to take place in over 400 U.S. cities, and worldwide the event is expected to top 2 million attendees.