Today, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world will strike to demand action on climate change. More than 4,500 strikes are planned worldwide in over 120 countries, and more than 500 strikes are registered in the U.S. alone.
The strike, which is organized by The Climate Strike Coalition, is intended to kick off a week of organizing events to fight climate change.
One of the flagship protests on Friday is in New York City, three days before the U.N. Climate Summit. Organizers expect thousands to turn out. New York’s strike will be held jointly with a Puerto Rico Day of Action; Friday marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which experts estimate killed at least 2,975 people on the island.
The New York protest will include speeches from several prominent climate leaders, including Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who launch the global Fridays for Future — which lead to Friday’s global climate strike — movements last year. In August of 2018, Thunberg began protesting in front of the Swedish parliament, rather than attending school, in demand of action on climate change. Her actions soon sparked a movement and lead leading young people around the world to start to “strike” from school on Fridays to demand action.When will the New York climate strike take place?
A rally for Puerto Rico Day of Action will be held at 11:00 a.m. in Foley Square, Manhattan. A rally in support of the climate strike will then take place at 12:00 p.m. in Foley Square, and protestors will march to Battery Park, where Thunberg and other climate activists will start to speak at 3:00 p.m.
Besides Thunberg, speaker include Vic Barrett, a 20-year-old plaintiff in the climate lawsuit Juliana vs U.S., Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 19-year-old climate Activist and Youth Director of the advocacy group Earth Guardians who’s also a plaintiff in Juliana v. U.S., and performances from actors and musicians Haden and Willow Smith.
The strike in New York has three central demands. First, they ask for an “immediate” end of the “extraction and consumption” of fossil fuels, and an end to the sway they argue fossil fuel companies have on the media and politics. Second, they ask that “frontline communities, workers, and those least responsible for the climate crisis” be prioritized. Third, they ask for “accountability from fossil fuel executives, the Global North countries and institutions most responsible for causing the climate crisis.”Who can participate in the New York climate strike?
Last week, the New York City Department of Education announced it would grant excused absences with parental consent of all students participating in the New York climate strike.
.@NYCschools will excuse absences of students participating in the #ClimateStrike on Friday 9/20. Students will need parental consent. Younger students can only leave school with a parent. https://t.co/hcBO1Cnb3m
— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) September 12, 2019
The City of Boston will also accept the absence of students who attend the rally if their parents writes a note.
Over 6,000 websites and companies are also participating in a “Digital Climate Strike,” including Tumblr, Kickstarter and WordPress, to raise the visibility of the climate strike. Over 2,000 scientists from over 40 countries are also striking, to raise awareness. Some companies, like Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s, are also closed on Friday in support of the strike.
“Young people in more than 140 countries are taking to the streets to demand that our political leaders treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is,” Varshini Prakash the co-founder and executive director Sunrise Movement, an organization that advocates action on climate change, said in a statement. “Fossil fuel CEOs will stop at nothing to squeeze every last drop of money from the earth — but our generation is mobilizing by the thousands and will strike again and again until we win. The momentum from today shows that any candidate for the American presidency who wants to win our generation’s votes must commit to making the Green New Deal the number-one priority of their administration.”