The school students behind the mass walk-outs and climate change protests are asking for support from as many people as possible
In September, Global Climate Strike is coordinating a series of strikes and marches in cities around the world. According to environmental campaigners, 1.4 million people took part in school strikes for climate action back in March, while hundreds of thousands staged a second walk-out in May. This next global action is expected to be the largest yet. Greta Thunberg and other youth strikers are calling for adults to walk out of work and join in with a general strike.
“This is our invitation,” she and 46 other youth activists wrote in The Guardian. “Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbours, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.”
“This is about crossing lines – it’s about rebelling wherever one can rebel,” they continue. ”It’s not about saying “Yeah, what the kids do is great, if I was young I would have totally joined in.” It doesn’t help, but everyone can and must help.”
Fancy getting involved? Here’s how you can help out.
When are the strikes?
A first strike will take place on September 20, just ahead of a crucial UN Summit on climate change. Protestors plan to disrupt ‘business as usual’ to show politicians that they must urgently pledge to take drastic measures when it comes to tackling global warming. A second strike will follow on September 27.
What’s the plan?
To get as many people as possible to leave their homes, schools, offices, or workplaces, in essence. Events are being organised across 150 countries, and there will be plenty of different ways to get involved. From protest marches in cities around the world to various other alternatives like tree planting and educational events, there are plenty of different ways to show up during the week of action. Check out the map on Global Climate Strike’s website to find your nearest event.
Why are people protesting?
As the Global Climate Strike’s official website says, the objective of the protest is, simply, to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels”. With an aim of insisting on climate justice for all, the protest hopes to make as much noise as possible before the fast-approaching UN Summit on climate change. “Our house is on fire,” the website continues, explaining the thought behind the strike.”The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it.”
Demonstrating on such a global scale is hoping to draw the attention needed to create massive, systematic change and a quicker move towards renewable energy. While not able to change the climate crisis on its own, the main aim of the strike is to show that people aren’t willing to go on with business as usual, and that change is becoming more and more necessary.
Who is participating?
Everyone from school children to workers, unions and beyond. The aim of these strikes is for millions of people to show their support for those who are able to inflict change at the highest level.
The music world is getting involved, too. Back in May, the UK music industry declared a climate emergency, backed by Radiohead, IDLES, Nadine Shah and more. Musicians from across the board are now set to show their support to the ongoing battle for climate change reform once more.
After collaborating with Thunberg on the rallying cry of their recent eponymous track, The 1975’s Matty Healy will be taking part in the Melbourne branch of the climate strike while on tour in Australia.
Closer to home, the central London strike will see the likes of Black Honey, Wolf Alice and more marching alongside the thousands.
What if I can’t go on strike?
Workers rights vary hugely around the world, and for many people, going on strike may not be a viable option. Many people have particular circumstances that mean they’re unable to strike. Some cannot afford to lose a day’s pay in order to protest, and others work in vital areas like emergency services – not everybody can be part of a union, either. In some workplaces, striking could even be a fireable offense, and so it’s important to follow the official procedures when it comes to notifying your employer of your intention to join the walk-out. If you have a trade union, you can also discuss a potential action with your trade union rep. If you’re unable to go on strike for any reason, there are still ways of supporting student strikers.
Global Climate Strike organisers have suggested a number of other ways that people can help out. From working together with your employer to put on a training event around the impact that climate change has within your particular industry, to nipping out to your nearest action on your lunch break, the most important thing is solidarity. Wearing a badge or ribbon to work in support of the strikers, sharing videos of youth activists speaking about climate change, or holding a minute’s silence in the office are all effective ways of spreading the word.