One day last August, a Swedish high school student named Greta Thunberg decided to skip school. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be news, but Greta isn’t an ordinary teenager. She sat herself down in front of the Swedish parliament to protest her country’s inaction on climate change.
This simple act sparked a movement, FridaysForFuture. Thousands of students around Europe and the rest of the world began striking every Friday to demand that their leaders treat the climate crisis like an actual crisis.
On March 15, inspired by Greta’s act, there will be a Global Climate Strike. We support Greta and other student leaders all over the world who are calling for governments to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
There Isn’t Any Time to Waste
Climate change is real. We’re already seeing its effects: wild weather, devastating fires, droughts, famine, flooding, the list goes on and on. And we know that the world’s most vulnerable populations are being hit the hardest. Unless we act right now, though, things are only going to get worse.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported that we have just 12 years to make massive changes to how we generate and utilize energy or we face catastrophic impacts on our climate, environment, and our way of life.
Just to be clear: we can’t avoid climate change. It’s already here. Even if all nations transitioned to a net-zero, clean-energy economy today, the world would continue to warm. Cutting carbon emissions in half is required just to stave off the worst-case scenarios.
The Climate Change Generation
Greta speaks with the urgency of someone whose future is being taken from her. To the UN she said,
The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn't do anything while there still was time to act.
None of today’s policymakers will be alive by the end of the century, when the effects of their inaction will be felt by everyone. But Greta and others her age will be, and their future children will be too. To FridaysForFuture leaders, the dire predictions of climatologists aren’t theoretical or abstract—they’re real life. These students are members of the first climate change generation.
We’ve seen throughout history how young activists have led movements and created change. We’re seeing it today. And yet many adults have criticized Greta and her fellow students, saying that they ought to stay in school, learn more, follow the rules, become a climate scientist and solve the crisis. To them, Greta says:
The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.
Join the Movement
Young people are taking their future back. Join them and join us. Find a local march or event near you and show our leaders that inaction isn’t an option. We have 12 years to avert a crisis. We can do it, but we have to start today.