Top 3 things you need to know about the Global Climate Strike

Young people striking for urgent climate action in Seoul, South Korea
Young people striking for urgent climate action in Seoul, South Korea © Chung Sung-Jun

What’s it all about?

Young people have been going on strike from school on Fridays since Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg began her “School Strike for Climate” in August 2018, the week after coming back from the summer holidays. School children across the world ever since have followed her lead, with monthly protests in the UK beginning in February 2019. 

They argue that they’d rather be at school – but there’s no point studying for a future that’s under grave threats from climate change. The science is clear: this a climate emergency.

The idea of the Global Climate Strike is for as many people to take the day off work on Friday 20 September to protest for climate action in solidarity with the school strikers. They’ll be out in force, and the grownups should be too. 

Why should I care?

Young people are really leading the charge on this one, and with good reason. The planet is set to warm by between 3C and 4C by 2100, with massive ramifications for everyone’s quality of life. As the next generation, their futures – and the future of our species – hang in the balance. 

Whether you have children yourself, plan to, or neither, you probably agree that it’d be ideal if the planet doesn’t go up in a ball of flames. Everyone should care, really.

Last year, one estimate suggested humans only had 12 years left to make the changes required. Then another estimate said it was more like 18 months.

In the UK, with an election looming, adults (and anyone else who can vote) have a unique opportunity on Friday 20 September, to tell the UK government we all want radical action to save our planet.

As the video below confirms, it’s important to lobby our government into making big, bold changes at the highest levels of our society. Individual tweaks to lifestyles aren’t going to cut it anymore. Mass action, which will make our leaders act, is required right now.

Sold! What do I do next?

Here are five steps to becoming a climate striker:

  1. Find a strike near you. There are over 150 strikes happening across the UK, meaning finding one to join should be easy enough. 
  2. Tell your workmates, managers and employers about the Global Climate Strike, to build support in your company or organisation. You might be surprised how many people are keen to help publicise it, and strike with you!
  3. Tell your employer that you plan to be at the strike. Depending on your workplace, you have a few options. Firstly, tell them you will be taking the Friday 20 September off, and ask them to support your decision and the strike more generally. (Strikes are unpaid work days, so they’ll even save some money!)
  4. If your employer really isn’t on board, remind them that there is/are no [insert your product/service or business/organization type] on a dead planet, and request some paid leave. If you can’t spare the time off, even going to the strike for half an hour at lunch is still a great show!
  5. Whatever you can or can’t do in person on Friday 20 September, you can show up for the climate kids by publicising your local strike– and the idea behind the strike – online.

Every act will bring this movement closer to getting Boris Johnson and his government to really do something about the climate emergency.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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