Today more than three million people have taken to the streets in support of the Global Climate Strikes
Once again youth organisers led the strikes, as they have been doing since Greta Thunberg started the first school strike in August 2018. This time, however, they were joined by adults representing trade unions, charities and thousands of private businesses.
The day began with record-breaking numbers turning out in Australia and across the Pacific. As crowds began to gather in cities across Europe, it became clear that this was set to be a global climate mobilization like no other. “This incredible movement that we’re seeing on the streets today is a cry for justice across generations and communities around the world,” said Nicolò Wojewoda, Europe Managing Director for 350.org.
“The radical action on the climate that they are demanding means the era of fossil fuels has to come to an end.”Nicolò Wojewoda, Europe Managing Director for 350.org
The biggest numbers of strikers were seen in Germany, where over 1.4 million people are understood to have taken part in more than 565 events across the country. Berlin saw more than a quarter of a million people take to the streets.
“This is a historic moment for the climate movement in Germany,” said Kate Cahoon, a campaigner with 350.org. “We have never seen such huge numbers taking to the streets to demand an end to coal, gas and oil. It’s time for the government to listen to the people”.
At events across Europe, climate strikers have been pushing policy-makers to take decisive action to end the use of fossil fuels. Activists in France blockaded the Ministry of Finance, demanding that the government stop all forms of financial support to fossil fuels.
“The strikers are targeting organisations responsible for climate breakdown, particularly the fossil fuel industry and its supporters,” said Clémence Dubois, France team leader, 350.org. “Over the coming weeks, people will be gathering together for training and workshops to build up the skills they need for more actions like this in the future.”
Meanwhile, strikers in the UK were calling on their government to introduce a Green New Deal to create a more just and sustainable economy. “We are often told that we cannot have a thriving economy and a livable climate, but that is a false choice,” said Anna Vickerstaff, UK team leader at 350.org. “We want to build new systems where the communities worst impacted by poverty, pollution and systemic inequality can take back power and are at the forefront of the transformation.”
Many of the strikes across Europe have also highlighted the links between climate change and forced migration, along with the need to address climate justice and migrant rights together.
Speaking at the climate strike in Leipzig, Tonny Nowshin, an activist from Bangladesh and 350.org diaspora organizer said, “It is absolutely necessary to have solidarity across all the different climate movements. We must not get divided, but stand united against the fossil fuel industry, the financial institutions, extremist political parties and a system that survives by exploiting the public and fuelling fear.”
The massive turnout we have seen today is just the beginning of a week of action. A number of countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Austria and Spain, will see their biggest climate strikes happening next Friday, on the 27th September. More protests targeting governments and major financial institutions are then planned for the following days and weeks.
“On 28 September, people from all over Switzerland will travel to Bern for a national climate demonstration,” said Nicole Gisler from the Climate Alliance Switzerland. “From the farmer to the worker, from the schoolgirl to the senior citizen, together we will send a colourful, diverse and strong message – we demand the phase-out of fossil fuels and climate justice.”
Highlights of upcoming Climate Strikes
Brussels, Belgium on 22 September, ‘Rise for Climate’. Taking place on one of Brussels’ famous car-free Sundays, this demonstration will see participants arrive by foot, bike, bus, scooter or roller-blade, gathering near the European Parliament building. More information.
Berlin, Germany on 25 September, climate strike protest at the European Investment Bank. A colourful, loud and rebellious action will put pressure on the German representation of the European Investment Bank, demanding that the world’s biggest lender stops funding fossil fuels.
The Hague, Netherlands, on 27 September, Klimaatstaking. Organised by a broad coalition including Fridays For Future Nederland, Teachers For Climate, Fossielvrij NL, Code Rood and Earth Strike Nederland, this is expected to be the largest climate mobilisation the Netherlands has ever seen. AMong the participants will be five youth strikers who will have walked more than 100km to be there, as they finish their weeklong March for Future. More information.
Bern, Switzerland on 28 September, Cl!mate of Change mobilization. A broad alliance of over 80 organisations including churches, unions, civil society groups from the fields of environment and development will march in their thousands to the Government Plaza just three weeks before the national elections. More information and photos.
There are hundreds of actions planned across Europe over the next week. To find them see here.