On Friday, September 20, 2019, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, sparked historic protests. Revolutionary students- school kids- walked out of their classrooms to raise awareness about the environmental hazards (emits carbon dioxide) and health risks (pollutants) associated with burning fossil fuels, as well as, most importantly, its irreversible consequences of global warming. In over 150 countries, millions of global citizens marched in solidarity behind the moral clarity of its youth, demanding world leaders transition to renewable energy,
In New York City alone, tens of thousands of students, teachers and parents joined the People’s Climate Movement on this hot September day in lower Manhattan, down Broadway, from Foley Square by the courthouses, to Battery Park at the southern tip of the Island. They faced New York’s harbor with handmade signs, advocating for global action/legislation to stop global warming and prevent climate change.
With an unusual sense of urgency, young performers, facing the crisis of their lifetime and politicians unwillingness to do anything about it, sang, danced and spoke out with gusto. At the close of the rally, Greta Thunberg, who at 15 took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament in Fridays, appeared onstage bearing the now-iconic hand drawn sign calling for stronger climate action, the sign which galvanized a school climate strike movement under the name, Fridays for Future.
“This could only be a fantasy,” she said, alluding to the fact, it was only one year ago that she began her simple school strike for climate change, wondering if it might catch on someday. “But,” she says, “I never believed it would happen so fast, in few months! We will not give up!”