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The school strike for climate (also known variously as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate and Youth Strike 4 Climate) is an international movement of school students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. Publicity and widespread organising began when the climate activist Greta Thunberg staged an action in August 2018 outside the Swedish Riksdag (parliament), holding a sign that read "Skolstrejk för klimatet" ("School strike for the climate").[2][3]

School strike for climate
FridaysForFuture
Part of the climate movement
Maximum school strikers per country.svg
Maximum number of school strikers per country:
  100+ 
  1000
  10000
  100000
DateSince August 2018, mostly on Fridays, sometimes on Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays
Location
International
Caused byPolitical inaction against global warming
GoalsClimate change mitigation
MethodsStudent strike
StatusActive
Parties to the civil conflict
Youth
Lead figures
Number
estimated 1400000 (for 15 March 2019)[1]

Contents

Climate Strike of November 2015Edit

In late-November 2015, an independent group of students invited other students around the world to skip school on the first day of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. On 30 November, the first day of the conference, a "Climate Strike" was organized in over 100 countries; over 50000 people participated.[4] The movement focused on three demands: 100% clean energy; keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and helping climate refugees.[5]

Greta Thunberg and other early strikers in 2018Edit

 
Greta Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, August 2018
 
Greta Thunberg's bicycle in Stockholm on 11 September 2018: "The climate change must be treated as a crisis! The climate is the most important election issue!"

On 20 August 2018, the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg,[6] then in the ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Sweden general election on 9 September after heat waves and wildfires in Sweden.[2] She has said she was inspired by the teen activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who had organised the March for Our Lives.[7][8] Thunberg protested by sitting outside the Riksdag every day during school hours with a sign that read "Skolstrejk för klimatet" ("school strike for the climate").[9] Among her demands were that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions per the Paris Agreement. On 7 September, just before the general elections, she announced that she would continue to strike every Friday until Sweden aligns with the Paris Agreement. She coined the slogan FridaysForFuture, which gained worldwide attention. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes.[10]

Growing movementEdit

 
"FridaysForFuture" protest in Berlin on 14 December 2018. Students Strike for Climate in front of the German parliament in Berlin.
 
Brussels, 24 January 2019
 
Climate strike in Berlin on 25 January 2019
 
Banner reading "Why learn without a future" (Berlin, 25 January 2019)
 
Placards "Respect existence or expect resistance" and "Change the system, not the climate!" (Berlin, 25 January 2019)
 
Placard at a rally at Invalidenpark, Berlin on 8 February 2019
 
Bolzano, 15 February 2019
 
Vicenza, 15 March 2019

Strikes began to be organised around the world, inspired by Thunberg, starting in November 2018. In Australia, thousands of students struck on Fridays, ignoring Prime Minister Scott Morrison's call for "more learning in schools and less activism".[11] Galvanized by the COP24 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, strikes continued at least in 270 cities[10] in December in countries including Australia, Austria,[12] Belgium, Canada,[13] the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland,[14][15] the United Kingdom, and the United States.[10][16]

In 2019, strikes were organised again in the countries listed above and in other countries, among them Colombia, New Zealand, and Uganda.[17] Mass strikes took place on 17 and 18 January 2019, when at least 45000 students protested in Switzerland and Germany alone, against insufficient policies on global warming.[18][19][20] In several countries, including Germany and the UK, pupils demanded the change of laws to reduce the voting age to 16 so they could influence public elections in favour of the youth.[21][22]

In Germany, regional groups were organized, communicating autonomously within Whatsapp groups and spreading their messages using flyers and social media. By February 2019, more than 155 local groups were counted by the movement.[23]

The Belgian environment minister for Flanders, Joke Schauvliege, resigned on 5 February 2019 after falsely claiming the state security agency had evidence that the school strikes in Belgium were a "set‑up".[24]

In the United Kingdom, on 13 February 2019, following open letters in support of the socio-political movement Extinction Rebellion in 2018, 224 academics signed an open letter giving their "full support to the students" attending the School Strike for Climate action.[25][26] On Friday 15 February, more than 60 actions in towns and cities within the United Kingdom took place, with an estimated 15000 strikers taking part.[25][27][28]

Climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, addressed a Fridays for Future climate strike in Potsdam, Germany that same day.[29] On 21 February 2019, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, stated his intent to spend hundreds of billions of euros on climate-change mitigation, amounting to a fourth of the EU budget. He announced this in a speech next to Greta Thunberg, and media credited the school-strike movement with provoking the announcement.[30]

On 5 March 2019, 700 German-speaking researchers signed a statement in support of the school strikes in that country.[31] Other researchers were invited to support the statement and it has been signed by over 26,800 scientists from mainly Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[32][33]

On 9 May 2019, during a European Union summit in Sibiu, representatives of the movement from all over Europe met with several national leaders of European countries and handed them an open letter, which was signed by over 16000 European climate strikers and their sympathisants.[34][35][36]

Global Climate Strike for Future of 15 March 2019Edit

On 15 March 2019, school strikes, urging adults to take responsibility and stop the climate change, began taking place in over 2000 cities worldwide. Except for Antarctica, which has no schools,[37] an estimated number of 1.4 million pupils from around the world participated in the events.[38][39][40] In Antarctica, at least seven scientists held a supportive rally at the Neumayer-Station III of Alfred Wegener Institute.[41][42][43]

On 1 March 2019, 150 students from the global coordination group of the youth-led climate strike (of 15 March), including Thunberg, issued an open letter in The Guardian, saying:[44]

We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. […] We are the voiceless future of humanity. We will no longer accept this injustice. […] We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world's decision-makers' inaction that threatens our entire civilisation. […] Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness. […] United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world's decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.

The day of the Global Climate Strike for the Future was to be the most widespread of strikes, with tens of thousands of children in at least 100 countries and over 35 US states walking out of school, supported by some of the world's biggest environmental groups.[45][46] Leading up to the strike, the website FridaysForFuture.org listed 1659 events planned in 106 countries.[47][48][timeframe?]

In Scotland, city councils of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Highland and Fife gave permission for children to attend the strikes.[49] In Finland parental consent letters were sent to schools[50] and in the Finnish city of Turku the school board proclaimed that children had a constitutional right to take part in the strikes.[51]

On the morning of 15 March in a Guardian guest editorial, titled "Think we should be at school? Today’s climate strike is the biggest lesson of all", school-climate-strikers Thunberg, Anna Taylor, Luisa Neubauer [de], Kyra Gantois, Anuna De Wever, Adélaïde Charlier, Holly Gillibrand and Alexandria Villaseñor, reiterated their reasons for striking.[52]

An estimated number of more than a million people in ca. 130 countries demonstrated at about 2200 events worldwide.[1][39] According to organizers, events took place in about 125 countries.[39] In Germany, more than 300000 pupils demonstrated in some 230 cities with more than 25000 in Berlin alone.[53][54] In Italy more than 200000 students demonstrated (100000 in Milan according to the organizers). In Montreal more than 150000 attended; Stockholm 15000 to 20000, Melbourne 30000, Brussels 30000, and Munich 8000. Other cities included Paris, London, Washington, Reykjavík, Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tokyo.[39]

Second Global Climate Strike – 24 May 2019Edit

A video inviting participation in the 24 May 2019 Climate Strike in the Philippines
 
Climate Strike in Stuttgart on 24 May 2019
Climate Strike in Lisbon on May 24, 2019

A second wave of global climate strikes began with actions in New Zealand and Australia on 24 May 2019.[55][56] Hundreds of thousands of school students around the world struck in more than 1600 towns in at least 125 countries.[57] Thunberg, one of the organizers, said that the strike took place on the second day of the four-day 2019 European Parliament election in order to affect it.[58] Polls conducted at the time show that climate change was an important issue for voters in the election—the most important issue for German voters.[58]

Future actionsEdit

A new strike has been called for 20 September 2019, which is to expand beyond school children and is to be followed by a global week of action.[59]

Support from scientistsEdit

 
German scientists, including Volker Quaschning, Eckart von Hirschhausen, Henning Krause [de], Martin Visbeck [de] and Gregor Hagedorn [wikidata], at the 15 March 2019 climate demo at Invalidenpark [de], Berlin-Mitte, in front of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

On 31 January 2019, more than 3400 scientists and academics signed an open letter in support of the school strikes in Belgium.[60] The letter reads "On the basis of the facts supplied by climate science, the campaigners are right. That is why we, as scientists, support them."[61] This was followed by an open letter in support of the school strikes in the Netherlands, signed by 340 scientists,[62] and by 1200 researchers in Finland signing a letter, on 11 March 2019, supporting the strikes.[63]

In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland a group of more than 23000 scientists founded Scientists for Future (S4F) in support of the factual correctness of the claims formulated by the movement.[64][65][66][67]

On 14 March 2019, the Club of Rome issued an official statement in support of Thunberg and the strikes, urging governments across the world to respond to this call for action and cut global carbon emissions.[68]

In early April 2019, a letter titled "Concerns of young protesters are justified" was published in Science. The letter declared that the climate strikers' concerns are "justified and supported by the best available science" and was signed by over 3000 scientists worldwide.[69]

Scientists have been studying the topic of global climate change and global warming for decades now. They have studied the greenhouse effect, which they say refers to the impact of a lot of atmospheric gases on the temperature of the earth. These scientists say that the greenhouse effect has been affecting the earth for at least 3 billion years by heating it. They also say that global climate change and global warming are theories about the future global climate, and what this movement is all about is standing up for the future of education.[citation needed] Another problem that scientists say is affecting climate are humans and natural drivers. Natural drivers are natural factors that speed up the process of climate change. Natural drivers plus humans can affect climate change much faster.[citation needed]


AwardsEdit

On the 7th June 2019, Amnesty International gives Fridays for Future and Greta Thunberg the prestigious Ambassador of Conscience award.

Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

“We are humbled and inspired by the determination with which youth activists across the world are challenging us all to confront the realities of the climate crisis. Every young person taking part in Fridays for Future embodies what it means to act on your conscience. They remind us that we are more powerful than we know and that we all have a role to play in protecting human rights against climate catastrophe.”[70]


Reactions by school principals and politiciansEdit

The strikes have been criticised as truancy by Conservative politicians in the United Kingdom and Australia. Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom criticised the strikes as wasting lesson and teaching time.[71] Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, voiced his support for the strikes as did leaders of other UK parties.[72][73][74] Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison called for "more learning and less activism" following the strikes.[75] Australia's Education Minister Dan Tehan suggested that if school students feel strongly about a cause, then they should protest in their own time in the evenings or on weekends.[76]

In New Zealand, there was mixed response from politicians, community leaders, and schools. Students were threatened to be marked as truant by some principals for attending the strike without their parents' or school's permission.[77] Judith Collins, and several other Members of Parliament were dismissive of the impact of the strike,[78] while Climate Change Minister James Shaw expressed support noting that little attention would be paid to marchers protesting on the weekend.[79][80]

On 15 March, the UN General Secretary António Guterres embraced the strikers, admitting that "My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry." Guterres has already invited world leaders to a UN summit in September 2019 to commit themselves more strongly to the policy framework laid out by the Paris Agreement.[81]

Energy minister Claire Perry stated that "the school leaders seem to have missed the point of efforts over the past decade to raise education standards. For what does excellence in education look like if it’s not pupils being engaged enough on issues such as climate change to do something about them?" Even government officials agree with this organization. Not everyone is against the protests. Some could make the argument that they may even be growing and getting more support.[82]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  11. ^ Wilkinson, Bard (2018-11-30). "Australian school children defy prime minister with climate strike". CNN. Archived from the original on 2019-02-28. Organizers estimated around 15,000 left their classrooms in 30 locations across the country, including Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth […] Friday's protests followed similar protests in Canberra and Hobart earlier this week. […] Central Victoria pupils […] Harriet O'Shea Carre and Milou Albrecht, both 14, penned a call to arms asking fellow school children to join them in protest […] 17-year-old Ruby Walker, a protesting pupil from the state of New South Wales. […] Jean Hinchcliffe, a pupil who spoke at the Sydney rally […] 14-year-old
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  13. ^ Larsen, Karin (2018-12-07). "Metro Vancouver students cut class to demand action on climate change". CBC News.
  14. ^ "More than 1,000 Swiss pupils strike over climate". Swissinfo. 2018-12-21.
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  19. ^ "Les jeunes se sont mobilisés pour le climat un peu partout en Suisse" (in French). Radio Télévision Suisse. 2019-01-18. En tout, une quinzaine de villes participent à cette action. [In all, about fifteen cities participate in this action.]
  20. ^ Hendrischke, Maria (2019-01-18). "Schüler streiken für Klimaschutz: "It's our fucking future"" [Pupils strike for climate protection] (in German). Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). Archived from the original on 2019-02-18. Am Freitag haben Kinder und Jugendliche in mehr als 50 Städten in ganz Deutschland protestiert. Etwa 25.000 junge Menschen sind nach Angaben von Fridays for Future bundesweit auf die Straßen gegangen. Halle war die einzige Stadt in Sachsen-Anhalt, die sich an der Demo beteiligt hat.
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  54. ^ "Klima-Demos - von Berlin bis Sydney" [Climate demos from Berlin to Sydney]. tagesschau.de (in German). 2019-03-15. Archived from the original on 2019-03-16. Retrieved 2019-03-16. #Fridaysforfuture mobilisierte auch in Deutschland Hunderttausende Menschen. Bundesweit waren 220 Proteste angekündigt, an denen sich laut Veranstaltern rund 300.000 Menschen beteiligten. Die meisten Teilnehmer gab es bei der Demonstration in Berlin, wobei die Angaben über die Teilnehmerzahl schwanken. Die Polizei zählte bis zu 20.000 Menschen, die bei dem Zug mitliefen. In München kamen nach Behördenangaben rund 10.000 Teilnehmer zusammen, 6000 versammelten sich in Frankfurt am Main. Auch in anderen Städten wie Köln, Bremen, Hannover und Nürnberg wurde protestiert. [#Fridaysforfuture also mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in Germany. Nationwide 220 protests were announced, in which, according to organizers, about 300000 people participated. Most participants were at the demonstration in Berlin, for which the information on the number of participants varies. The police counted up to 20000 people walking along the march. In Munich, according to authorities, about 10000 participants came together, 6000 gathered in Frankfurt am Main. Protests also happened in other cities such as Cologne, Bremen, Hanover and Nuremberg.] [1]
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