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The Global Climate Strike wasn’t only for the kids

New York City students were allowed to skip school last Friday, but they were not the only generation taking part in the climate strike in which 250,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan. They were inspired by 16 year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who started the movement ‘Fridays for Future.’

Over five million people went on strike across 150 countries to demand urgent action on climate change. In New York, the city’s 1.1 million public school students were granted permission by Mayor Bill de Blasio to take the day off. Thousands marched from Foley Square to Battery Park, ahead of the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Monday. 

However, the strike was not just attended by the younger generation.

Eileen Jones, 67, from Manhattan held a sign with the caption, “Vote because the kids can’t.”

“I am here for the future, for my kids, for me, for all of us,” Jones said. “My job is helping to save the world.”

The march led to the main event in Battery Park which included speeches and performances by climate activists from around the world, including Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg started Fridays for Future over a year ago to encourage students to skip school to protest for action on climate change from their governments. Since then, she has become the face of a global movement. 

Thunberg arrived in New York at the end of August after a 2-week trip sailing across the Atlantic on an emissions-free yacht. 

Alexandria Villaseñor, 14, introduced Thunberg to cheers from the crowd. Villaseñor is the co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and skips school every Friday in front of the UN headquarters. 

“We have not taken to the streets, sacrificing our education for the adults and politicians to tell us that they admire our work,” Thunberg said. “It should not be that way, we should not be the ones fighting for the future, but here we are.” 

Students in Battery Park also expressed anger at their predecessors. 

“We are going to have clean up after the adults,” 8th grade student Ollie Davis said. “I skipped school because the planet is on fire and we need to fix it.”

Canadian Environmentalist Philip McMaster, co-founder of the World Sustainability Project and the Republic of Conscience, created his character ‘SustainaClaus’ in 2012 –  “the Santa Claus of Sustainability.” He travels the world advocating for change across all generations.

Philip McMaster aka ‘SustainaClaus’

“Kids seem to have this feeling of incredible urgency, but parents don’t,” McMaster said.  “They really need to understand the urgency of the climate crisis.” 

One Response to “The Global Climate Strike wasn’t only for the kids”

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