After the Climate Strikes: What Comes Next for the 6 Million People Movement
They came, they saw, the protested. Best of last week's Climate Strikes and what happens next for the global movement and the change they're creating from here.
The Global Climate Strikes, also called Global Week for the Future, were on September 20 and September 27, 2019, and involved over 150 countries in 1,000 cities. A total of over 6.6 million individuals gathered together to the climate strike locations across the world, demanding action from world leaders to stop climate change and work towards the end of the fossil fuel economy.
The campaign is targeted towards young people, whose future living on this planet is threatened by the inaction of politicians doing anything about climate change, but is accepting of all. Adults were encouraged to join the younger crowd in solidarity as many students participated in school walk-outs to attend the climate strikes.
Who organized the Climate Strikes?
Everyone's thinking the same thing, "we've got to stop climate change," but the Climate Strike movement took off when existing youth-led groups created and planned the event. These organizations included Earth Uprising, Future Coalition, Earth Guardians, Zero Hour, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, Youth Climate Strike, and the International Youth Council. Their existing members recruited friends and family to join the event in their respective cities, and then those friends and family went on to recruit others to take action.
The youth-led groups also gained the support of regional and international partners. These are the companies and organizations sponsoring the Global Climate Strikes, helping the movement reach as many people as possible. Some notable international partners included:
- Greenpeace International
- The Ocean Project
- 1% for the Planet
Why did so many people (over 6 million!) attend the Climate Strikes?
As many as 6.6 million people attended the Climate Strikes last week to demand "meaningful and immediate action" from our political representatives to protect the planet for future generations to come. Many protesters see the climate crisis as an actual emergency that requires activists in all industries and backgrounds to disrupt the status quo of pipelines, mines, and the banks that fund them. The need for change is urgent because the continued prevalence of oil, coal, and gas companies contributes to a hotter planet that is already hurting millions of people.
These 6 million individuals felt it was their opportunity to be a part of the solution by demanding justice and action from politicians around the world. Climate change leads to more extreme weather that negatively affects agriculture, which in return affects jobs and the economy, and it even has contributed to poor health conditions across the board. A burning planet could destroy every aspect of life as we know today, which is why so many people felt the protests were necessary.
Why did the Climate Strikes occur on two different dates?
Timing plays a big part in movements, and Global Week for the Future occurred on September 20 and September 27, 2019 to coincide with the emergency 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit. By attending the strikes that week, they demand that their political voices matter, and leaders attending the summit are more intensely remind to commit to taking real actions in government and businesses to reverse climate change.
What was the impact made by the Global Climate Strikes? What happened as a result of the Climate Strikes?
It is still too soon to determine the true accomplishments of the Global Climate Strikes as it is an ongoing movement, but here are just a few of the events that occurred during and after the Climate Strikes or at the UN Climate Action Summit:
- Central Banks have recognized climate change and started taking the environment into account
- Amazon workers planned a walk-out, and Amazon commits to "net zero carbon by 2040 and 100% renewable energy by 2030"
- Banks and universities feel more pressure to divest from fossil fuels, a strong tactic used by campaigners for the planet to reduce emissions
- 130 banks, including Deutsche, Citigroup, and Barclays, signed the UN climate summit pledge to "pivot its loan and investment portfolios away from fossil fuels and towards greener business ventures"
- Countries announced more money going towards the UN's Green Climate Fund
Many rebuke the actions taken at the UN Climate Action Summit, saying the world politicians have not pushed the limits enough in reducing emissions, and some of the world's largest emitters by country haven't taken action.
What do we do now?
To continue creating change and stop climate change, there are many online and local actions you can take after the Climate Strikes. The Global Climate Strike website encourages certain petitions to sign and local campaigns to join so you can stay in the loop about future events to come.
What really sustains a movement and leads to action or change is continued activism and awareness, so it's critical to keep the conversation about climate change going and to continue demanding businesses and governments to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Stay in the know online and offline by reading up on the news, scientific studies, and grassroots organizations near you.
There's a really groovy journalism collaboration covering Climate Strike updates all on one site that you can visit here. Did you participate in the Climate Strikes? Share your story below, we want to hear from you!