Kicking off what organizers say will be the largest mass climate demonstration in history, millions of young people and their adult allies flooded the streets around the world Friday to take part in the Global Climate Strike and pressure world leaders to confront the ecological crisis with bold and urgent action.
An estimated 400,000 people gathered in Australia alone as hundreds of thousands of others rallied across India, Germany, Austria, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, the U.K., and other nations.
“We’re here to reclaim our right to live, our right to breathe, our right to exist,” said youth climate activist Aman Sharma, who gathered with thousands in Dehli.
Demonstrations are expected to take place in over 130 nations on Friday, with more than 800 strikes planned in the United States. “I think it’s pretty clear this will be the biggest day of climate action in planetary history,” said 350.org founder Bill McKibben on Friday as images and videos began to pour in on social media.
The strikes, led by youth climate activists, have drawn enthusiastic support from diverse segments of society, including teachers, scientists, tech workers, labor unions, and lawmakers.
Vic Barrett, a 20-year-old plaintiff in the Juliana v. United States climate lawsuit against the American government, wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian Friday that he is taking part in the Global Climate Strike because “this decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet.”
“We have no choice but to act when the alternative is to sit and watch our world burn,” wrote Barrett. “We have no choice but to act when the alternative is extinction.”
On social media, #ClimateStrike photos and videos were flooding platforms like Twitter with an on-the-ground look from cities and countries from around the world.
— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) September 20, 2019
— Fridays for Future Freiburg (@F4F_Freiburg) September 20, 2019
The #ClimateStrike crowd numbers are phenomenal.
Perth & Adelaide at least 10,000 each
Thousands more across regional Australia & Pacific https://t.co/rViiPMOgWR @strikeclimate #schoolstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/VAOKRHq7Zu
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019
In Lahore, Pakistan:
— Sara Hayat (@saratamman) September 20, 2019
In Woerdern, Austria:
— 350 dot org (@350) September 20, 2019
In London, England:
— Hannah Martin 🌍 (@Hannah_RM) September 20, 2019