The Youth Make 2019 the Year of Climate Action

German School Strikes for climate on Fridays

March 15th, 2019
Hoëlenn Ayoul-Guilmard, News from Berlin
20190315_The Youth Make 2019.jpg

On the 15th of March, movements of climate strikers swept the globe and young people in more than 100 countries walked out of class to challenge the government to take action and to address climate issues.

The school strikes for climate started as a solo protests initiated by the 16-year old Greta Thunberg. In August, Thunberg started skipping school and sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm to call for faster action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The teenager has since become a figurehead for the global climate movement and her action inspired protests in many countries that have turned into an international student movement. Indeed, on March 15th classrooms across the globe were empty as pupils and students marched in the streets, urging government to take more drastic measures in order to prevent the imminent climate crisis.

As of today, such movements are even more significant as we can witness a general decline of voting participation among the youth. However, it triggered a fierce debate over whether students should be allowed to skip school. ‘’Think we should be at school? Today’s climate strike is the biggest lesson of all.’’ answered Greta to people like the Australia Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who said that children should be in school.

20190315_The Youth Make 2019 2.jpg

School strike events registered on the Fridays for Future website. Photo: The Washington Post

As far as Germany is concerned, the protest is coming while lawmakers are already struggling with the issue of climate change and the signature of Climate Action Law this spring, However Chancellor Angela Merkel said this weekend she “strongly welcomes” the rise of student protests as she thinks it’s “a very good initiative’’ and she “encourages students to turn to the streets and fight for the climate". The chancellor’s comments came a day after activist Greta Thunberg visited Hamburg, bringing thousands of people into the streets. Today, she is in Berlin with Luisa Neubauer, prominent figure of the movement in Germany, to join the march taking place in more than 200 cities in Germany.

Protests for climate are not new and are part of NGO’s general action to raise awareness, however, recently a lot of citizen projects are blooming across the globe. For instance ‘’L’affaire du Siècle’’, a France initiative attempting to sue the Government for climate inaction, has been discussed a lot in the media recently. As it seems, international movements are calling for international answers and today’s strikes might be one of the most widespread events of its kind since the occupy movement.


News from Berlin