Scientists, students, activists plan global strike ahead of UN climate summit
Sept. 13 (UPI) — Environmental activists, student leaders, scientists and other organizers held a press conference this week to discuss their plans for next week’s global climate strike.
Next Friday, Sept. 20, millions of people are planning to walk out of their homes, workplaces and classrooms and take to the streets to demand action of climate change.
As CO2 emissions continue to rise and weather stations continue to record temperatures, activists are demanding a rapid end to the era of fossil fuels. Organizers hope the global strike illustrates the force of their movement and the urgency of their demands, via mass demonstration — power in numbers, signs and chants.
Next week’s strike will be the third global climate strike. The first, in March, inspired 1.6 million students to walk out of classrooms and protest. Thousands more, including scientists, teachers and politicians, joined the second strike in May.
“The momentum is now building and September 20 will be a demonstration of that momentum,” Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, said during an intro to Thursday’s online press conference. “It’s going to be a hell of an interesting, big, beautiful and vibrant day.”
Earlier this year, thousands of scientists signed a letter — published in the journal Nature — pledging support for the student-led strikes, claiming that the urgency of their demands were justified by the scientific consensus.
One of the scientists who signed the letter, Doreen Stabinksy, an environmental scientist at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, joined Thursday’s press conference to pledge her continued support.
“Thousands of scientists around the world are going to be striking next Friday,” Stabinsky said. “We know we what we need to do, know what actions we need to take. But we need political will do accomplish these things, and right now, our political leaders are failing us.”
Climate researchers with the United Nations suggest fossil fuel emissions need to be reduced to zero by 2030 in order to prevent the planet’s temperature from rising more 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Several student activists and strike organizers joined the call, including students from as far away as South Africa and the Philippines. The students said they hoped their efforts would raise awareness in their home countries, where many people recognize that weather patterns are changing — temperatures are rising and droughts are getting worse — but where “climate change ignorance is high.”
Next Friday’s action will features hundreds of strikes, which are being organized around the world. Activists expect the largest turnout yet.
“We are calling on everyone to join us, we need a truly diverse and multi-generational movement, made of people from all ages and backgrounds, not just the youth,” said Jerome Foster II, youth climate activist. “We need adults to stand up and call for action and to support young people and do things that young people can’t do. We should be fighting for our future.”