Imagine a world where the majestic polar bear didn’t exist anymore, or the snow leopards of the Himalayas all died due to extreme heat conditions or lack of food. Or a world where the polar regions were all washed away and the forests had all cleared up due to deforestation therefore causing a decrease in water availability. A world where you couldn’t predict the weather because it was either too hot or too cold causing droughts, heat waves or extreme floods.
That harsh reality is what motivated then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg to spend her days camping outside the Swedesh Parliament instead of going to school to send an urgent message to her lawmakers in Sweden that much was needed to be done on climate change.
For three weeks straight, during school hours, Greta would sit outside holding a sign written ‘School strike for climate’. She wanted the Swedish government to reduce carbon emissions per the Paris Agreement and maintained that she would only limit her protests to just Fridays if the agreement was adhered to. Her resilience caught the attention of Sweden and the entire world and just after three weeks children from countries such as Australia, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Uganda all joined in on the protests.
She coined the slogan ‘Fridays For Future’ where students would skip class to protest about climate change in their different countries. They would camp around town halls and parliaments in their countries holding placards to inspire policy change in the fight against climate change.
According to the Fridays for Future website, children are striking because they feel that going to school is becoming pointless due to the worsening climate destruction. They are asking ‘Why spend a lot of effort to become educated, when governments are not listening to the educated?’
This Friday, March 15, more than 1,500 children will hold strikes in more than 100 different countries, inspired by the words of Greta during the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference, “You are never too small to make a difference.”
On social media, #FridaysForFuture has remained active with new posts every few seconds from children and adults who are taking part in the strike sharing videos and pictures of their protests.
The implications of climate change will affect everyone in the entire world and it is with movements such as these that the ‘strikers’ are hopeful that governments will finally begin to take notice and take action for the time to save the planet is limited.