Words and video by Restless Development communications coordinator Gennie Allcott, photos by Loris Nardi (@LorisAnam)
Chanting slogans at the top of their lungs and carrying placards demanding action on plastic, pollution and the impact of climate change, school kids and their supporters took the day off to join an impressive global day of action on climate change.
Young people – and those committed to making change with them – turned up in droves, with 2,500 protests sweeping the world, one after the other, in over 163 countries worldwide. The crowds, activists claim, numbered 4 million, making it the biggest strike since the ‘School Strikes for Climate’ began at the turn of the year. It may well be the largest mass protest for action on climate change in history.
The worldwide strike, originally, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, was organised by Youth Strike 4 Climate and was the culmination of 56 ‘School Strikes for Climate’ that have so far happened this year. Friday’s strike – although youth led – was open to all ages and it aimed to highlight the responsibilities of adults as well as politicians to make change with young people and for young people.
Heather McKay, former ICS volunteer with Restless Development and founding project member of the Climate Crisis Foundation explains why she was supporting the action,
“As the lack of funding for climate action is one of the biggest barriers to tackling the climate crisis, we are supporting young people – those who are most affected but have the least political recognition and resources – to call on older people to take meaningful action on their behalf and donate regularly to climate change causes now.”
Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth were also there in solidarity as were UNHRC and many other youth and climate organisations.
With more than 70% of our Global Youth Power network telling us that the issue they care the most about is Climate Change. Restless Development staff, volunteers, and campaigners also attended the strike, either as young people themselves or in solidarity with them, including Perry Maddox, our CEO. As Perry explains,
“Young people have made it clear that climate action is at the top of the list on what matters most to them. At Restless Development we are committed to supporting young leaders who are uniting and taking action on climate change globally. It is clear that youth power works. It is the world’s young people who have begun to turn the dial on attention to the climate crisis.”
However the global lack of progress and commitment remains real and is truly life and world threatening. We joined the protest to show our commitment, as a leading international youth agency, to tackling climate change and to help call on world leaders heading to the UN General Assembly this week to commit to stronger action on climate change.”
In an open letter to world leaders, Restless Development are calling for urgent action to deliver the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to avoid decades of disaster for people and planet. We will be handing this letter to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, where they will discuss the world’s most pressing issues including at the SDG summit.