Millions of people around the world on Friday will leave their offices and schools and take to the streets to sound the alarm on the globe’s dire climate crisis.
The global climate strike, billed as the biggest climate mobilization ever, is being held in over 110 countries across six continents with more than 3,500 demonstrations by activists, students, scientists, workers, and many others.
Activists and strikers told Anadolu Agency about their own reasons to attend the events.
Bill McKibben, author and founder of the 350.org movement, said young people have made it clear that adults can no longer in good conscience refuse the call to action.
“Young people have asked the rest of us to back them up — when kids make a mature and reasonable request, what kind of adult says no?”
Leila Salazar-Lopez, executive director of the Amazon Watch movement, who is taking part in the strike with her two daughters, said the need for action is pressing.
“I march to call attention to the devastating Amazon Forest fires that continue to burn and grow. The Amazon burns. The Congo burns. Indonesian forests burn. This affects forests, biodiversity, the climate and all of our collective future. We need to take urgent action now.”
Officials from Fridays For Future, a youth movement which now strikes every Friday for climate change, also attended the demonstration.
“We attend the strike as individuals. We attend because we see that the climate breakdown is occurring and we do not see that people in positions of power are reacting in a way to lead to a safe and stable climate,” the movement said in a statement.
Kate Donovan, an activist from ActionAid movement, said this is a historic moment and that the strike will send a strong message to governments and industries.
“The fossil fuel industry and industrial agriculture have to be phased out. I want to see a system that prioritizes people, their rights and the health of the planet, not profits,” she said.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, head of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) global climate and energy practice, said young people around the world are joining the strike to ask leaders to stop green house gas emission.
“The bigger question is whether these leaders will answer their plea and end the climate action inertia,” added Vidal, who was also Peru’s Environment Minister from 2011-2016.
Vanessa Perez-Cirera, deputy leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice, also said: “The youth of the world are speaking and we should listen. World leaders need to take this seriously, move quickly, and ensure these children have the secure future they are asking for.”
Helena Siren Gualinga, a 17-year-old climate and indigenous rights activist, said she was attending the strike because “our planet’s future is at stake and my home, the Amazon rainforest, is on fire”.
Referring to climate change as “a life-threatening crisis”, Baran Bozoglu, head of Turkey’s Chamber of Environmental Engineers, said: “We should stay away from fossil fuels, improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption. Otherwise life in the world is in great danger”.