The Global Climate Strike marches are underway today, with millions of people around the world taking to the streets and marching to demand world leaders act on the climate change emergency. Most notably, high school students from all corners of the planet, inspired by the weekly strikes of Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, are skipping school to participate in the marches. USA Today reports that over one million New York City students were excused from class to participate in the march.
The protests began in the Pacific and continued throughout the world as the sun came up, from Australia (with over 100,000 marching in Melbourne alone) to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Germany, Norway, and more. Protests are expected to take place in over 156 different countries. Estimates say 270,000 people protested in Berlin, 100,000 in Hamburg, 100,000 in London, and 400,000 in Australia.
Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, who started the movement of Friday school strikes and teenager activism against climate change in 2018, was a major motivating force behind the protests. In April this year, in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, she compared the devastating Notre Dame fires to the plight of our planet. “I want to make you panic, I want you to act as if your house was on fire,” Reuters reports her saying. “A lot of politicians have told me that panicking does not do any good. I agree, but when your house is on fire and you want to prevent it from collapsing, it is better to panic a little.”
Strikes will take place today and again on Friday, September 27. You can find or register your local strike at fridaysforfuture.org.