Thousands strike to demand global action on climate change

Today (20 September), thousands of protestors will be joining youth climate strikers to demand that governments take urgent action to address the climate emergency. With demonstrations taking place all over the world, Greens will be out in full force, calling for an end to business as usual.

Youth climate strikers demand action to address the climate emergency.
Youth climate strikers demand action to address the climate emergency.

Garry Knight

Imogen Benson

One year on from Greta Thunberg’s first school strike outside the Swedish Parliament, protestors from all over the world are coming together to stand in solidarity against the damaging impacts of climate change.

Today (20 September) marks the third Global Climate Strike, where thousands of adults will be walking out of their workplaces, joining the youth strikers in their ‘Fridays for Future’ protest. This follows on from the global days of action on 15 March and 24 May, when people of all generations took to the streets to show their support for climate action.  

Taking place just ahead of the UN’s emergency climate summit in New York on 23 September, the strike is set to be the biggest climate mobilisation yet, with people from 156 countries taking part in a week of action that will last until a second strike on 27 September. Over 2,500 businesses will be supporting the strikes, with Patagonia, Lush and Sodastream shutting their doors to allow employees to join the protests. 

Greens will be at the forefront of the demonstrations, with Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley joining the rallies in London. 

Bartley said: “As adults, we have a responsibility to amplify young people’s voices as much a possible. Green leaders and MEPs will be marching alongside our Young Greens on Friday across the country, standing side by side with our young party members, fighting for their future.

“Young people are saying that the time is up for business as usual. Everything must change. There is no place in a climate emergency for the status quo.”

Berry and Bartley previously spoke out in support of the climate strike at the Green Party’s Spring Conference in June, calling for the public to show support to the young people campaigning for their futures. 

Green MEPs will also be protesting today, with Alexandra Phillips, Green MEP for the South East of England, explaining: “I’ll be taking part in Friday’s global climate strike to demand that the health of our earth is taken seriously. I’ve got a young son and I’m marching for his future and for the future of us all. We need adults – politicians included – to turn out and support children and young people on the strikes because climate change is something that is affecting us all.”

Gina Dowding, Green MEP for the North West of England, took a group of young climate activists to Brussels last week. She said: “Last week in Brussels, I witnessed the motivation, dedication and energy of 17 climate strikers who came with me to European Parliament. Their awareness and commitment to really pushing policy-makers, decision-makers, businesses and civil society to make change has really given hope and inspired me.

“I would urge anyone who can, to join the Global Climate Strike on Friday. I’ll be at the strike in Preston before going through to the Lancaster event. It’s vital that we all get behind this demand for climate justice. Our young people need us to act now.”

Now an international movement, Thunberg’s school strikes have granted prominent media attention to the cause of climate action, with high-profile demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience from protest group Extinction Rebellion also succeeding in raising awareness of the issue. 

A recent poll from anti-racism campaign group Hope not Hate found that the majority of the public consider the climate crisis to be the most important issue facing the world, with 74 per cent of Brits saying that they were already seeing the impacts of climate change in extreme weather events.

With thousands of people engaged in the cause, protesters are putting increased pressure on the government to prioritise the environment and step up to tackle climate change. 

You can find information about events in your local area on the Global Climate Strike website.