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May 26, 2019

Young people around the world set to skip school for climate change protest Friday

March 14, 2019
A student strike action, organized by ‘Youth For Climate’, urging pupils to skip classes to protest a lack of climate awareness, Thursday 31 January 2019 in Brussels. (ERIC LALMAND / AFP/Getty Images)

Young people around the world will skip class this Friday to demand action on climate change.

Each of the past 20 years have been one of the warmest since records began, and the students have already seen the increased number and intensity of natural disasters during their lifetimes.

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The strike is inspired by the #FridaysForFuture movement that started when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden sat in front of the parliament building every day for three weeks in August 2018 to protest a lack of action to stop climate change. She later decided to continue the streak each Friday until Swedish policies fell in line with the Paris Agreement, inspiring similar protests such as the one scheduled for Friday.

“We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change,” the Youth Climate Strike’s mission states. “With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people.”

For those protesting, this is a race against the clock. A 2018 report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Earth’s temperature will increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels as soon as 2030, increasing drought, wildfires and floods globally.

“Climate change is already happening,” the global coordination group for the Youth Climate Strike wrote in and open letter published by The Guardian. “People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness.”

Climate strikes are reportedly being held in 90 countries and 1200 cities around the world, including New York City — with gatherings scheduled for Washington Square Park, Columbus Circle, City Hall, Columbia University, the United Nations and the Bronx High School of Science.

Demands outlined on the Youth Climate Strike’s website include embracing the Green New Deal, stopping fossil fuel infrastructure projects, declaring a national emergency on climate change, required education on climate change for students grades K-8, preserving public lands and wildlife, keeping our water supply clean and guiding government decisions on the issue with scientific research.

About 150 scientists from across America signed a letter in support of the strike.

“Students’ demands for bold, urgent action are fully supported by the best available science,” the letter said. “They need our support, but more than that, they need all of us to act. Their future depends on it; and so does ours.”

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