Written by Jake Johnson / Common Dreams
Kicking off what organizers say will be the largest mass climate demonstration in history, millions of young people and their adult allies flooded the streets around the world Friday to take part in the Global Climate Strike and pressure world leaders to confront the ecological crisis with bold and urgent action.
According to 350.org, over 4 million people took part in the collective demonstrations worldwide.
“Today we saw a movement, made up of people from all ages and backgrounds coming together and calling for the end of coal, oil, and gas. No matter what differences we have, we are together now because we are fighting for our future,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, in a statement. “September 20th was a demonstration of intent, of four million people who took time off from work or school to say that they are ready. Ready to move on and make the changes we need for a future free from fossil fuels and based in climate equity and justice. And it was only the beginning.”
An estimated 400,000 people gathered in Australia alone as hundreds of thousands of others rallied across India, Germany, Austria, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, the U.K., and other nations.
“We have no choice but to act when the alternative is to sit and watch our world burn. We have no choice but to act when the alternative is extinction.”
“We’re here to reclaim our right to live, our right to breathe, our right to exist,” said youth climate activist Aman Sharma, who gathered with thousands in Dehli.
Demonstrations are expected to take place in over 130 nations on Friday, with more than 800 strikes planned in the United States. “I think it’s pretty clear this will be the biggest day of climate action in planetary history,” said 350.org founder Bill McKibben on Friday as images and videos began to pour in on social media.
Vic Barrett, a 20-year-old plaintiff in the Juliana v. United States climate lawsuit against the American government, wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian Friday that he is taking part in the Global Climate Strike because “this decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet.”
“We have no choice but to act when the alternative is to sit and watch our world burn,” wrote Barrett. “We have no choice but to act when the alternative is extinction.”
On social media, #ClimateStrike photos and videos were flooding platforms like Twitter with an on-the-ground look from cities and countries from around the world.