As the threat of climate change mounts and large-scale political action continues to stagnate, people are taking to the streets in massive strikes all over the world. On September 20th, there will be a worldwide climate strike just a few days before the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit. Youth activists like Greta Thunberg are calling for everyone to leave work or school and join the strike.
Just over a year ago, Thunberg — inspired by Parkland activists — started her weekly climate strike in front of the Swedish Parliamentary Building, which has since snowballed into an international movement. On March 15 of this year, a worldwide climate strike occurred where students skipped school to demand that politicians take stronger action against climate change. According to 350.org, over 1.4 million young people in 300 cities participated in the strike.
With each strike, it is debated whether or not skipping school to protest is effective or counterproductive. Critics say it is better to get an education first and then work towards change, however, there’s no point in waiting if the world is on a tipping point towards catastrophe.
The fact is that time is of the essence. According to Kelly Levin at the World Resources Institute (WRI), July of 2019 was “the warmest month on record for the globe.” Also, “we’re on track to blow through the entirety of the remaining carbon budget for a likely chance of limiting warming to 1.5° by 2030,” according to Levin. So, we have just over a decade to achieve net-zero emissions. If we fail to do so, the impacts of the climate crisis will be even stronger. Levin also writes about how the necessary science and technology are already available to tackle climate change. The only thing missing is political will. Politicians need to feel the heat of public outcry stronger than the political benefit they gain from inaction. The best method? Strikes.
Striking is the strongest message that can be sent, stronger than reposting something on Instagram. Historically, it works. Striking has been a key pillar in nearly every political movement in America. Strikes are the primary way for the voiceless to be heard. To stand up to a powerful, corporate, or political establishment. Most high school students cannot vote yet, but they can strike. The power of a strike comes from how many people come together to fight for its cause. Choosing to attend can mean the difference between 1,000 protestors and 100,000.
You can strike now and make a difference. You can work to fight climate change. It’s not one or the other. The more people who show up for the strike on September 20th, the more impactful it will be. So, rally your friends and family and show up to demand change.