Sept. 23, 2019 (GIN) – Millions of young climate activists are declaring “enough is enough” to the use of fossil fuels that are superheating our planet and unleashing floods, hurricanes and droughts unlike any we’ve seen before.
On Friday, a Global Climate Strike led by school children and adults marched and rallied in 185 countries around the world—making it the biggest climate protest ever.
350.org, one of the groups behind the Strike, tallied 600,000 people in the U.S. alone. An estimated 300,000 took over the streets in New York, from Foley Square to Battery Park, waving hand-painted signs and chanting “You had a future, so should we!”
“Today we saw a movement of people saying we need a future based in climate equity and justice,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.
Friday’s event channeled the frustration and anger of young people at the complacency of older generations. Signs, hand-drawn by the strikers, read: “Science not Silence,” “Our Earth Matters,” “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance”, and over a globe and a green background: “Respect your Mother.”
Strikes were planned for at least seven Nigerian cities including Lagos, which is clogged by mountains of toxic waste, and Port Harcourt, capital of the country’s oil-producing region, whose residents and their possessions have been covered in soot for decades.
Protests were scheduled at a proposed coal plant in Ivory Coast, while in Ghana, a group called Young Reporters for the Environment was leading a march from the city hall of the capital, Accra.
In Senegal, actions were planned in Rufisque, Thies, Kaolack, Bargny, and Dakar where air pollution is causing an increase in respiratory problems linked to sulphur-laden diesel.
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmentalist from Sweden, is credited with inspiring the global movement after spending close to a year sitting outside the Swedish parliament to protest inaction on climate change.
Known for her bluntness, Thunberg told a session of U.S. lawmakers to save their praise. “We don’t want it,” she said, “especially if you intend to talk about climate change without doing anything about it.”
Meanwhile, African leaders at this week’s UN climate summit are seeking more money from rich countries to help them combat global warming.
The president of Gabon, the current chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, is scheduled to deliver the demands, drawn up at an August meeting in Ethiopia to prepare Africa’s position for the UN summit.