‘Fridays for Future’ Rallies Pressure Governments to Act on Climate Crisis
Tens of thousands of young climate activists took to the streets in cities across the globe on Friday to demand bolder action from governments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate emergency.
The coordinated student strikes and protests were organized by Fridays for Future, an international youth-led movement sparked by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The demonstrations unfolded from Berlin to Paris to Sydney in one of the group’s largest global mobilizations since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Berlin alone, organizers estimated over 36,000 protestors joined the climate strike marching through the city’s government district. Activists carried signs and banners with slogans like “Stop fossile Energie!” while chanting calls for climate justice.
The Berlin march culminated in a rally outside the Brandenburg Gate, where impassioned speakers underscored the urgency of transitioning away from coal, oil and natural gas to renewables.
“We renew our demand for 100 billion euros for a real energy transition instead of fueling climate disasters,” declared Friday’s for Future Germany on social media.
The funds would expand clean energy infrastructure and assist vulnerable groups through the transition. Protesters argue the money should come from wealthy entities profiting from the fossil fuel economy.
The Berlin activists also pressed the German government to cancel debts held by developing countries they claim were accrued through resource plundering and the consequences of climate change.
Similar demands for climate financing and debt relief highlighted protests worldwide as activists maintain rich nations hold historic responsibility for emissions and should support poorer nations.
Climate campaigners chose mid-October for a coordinated week of action to highlight climate impacts already unfolding and pressure governments leading into the COP27 climate summit next month.
Their urgent demands come as global campaigns to ditch fossil fuels and speed the renewable transition have taken on increased importance amid the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“We are protesting all over the world because the governments in charge are still doing too little for climate justice,” said Friday’s for Future Germany.
In France, oversize banners decrying the “inaction” of lawmakers on climate change unfurled along streets surrounding the National Assembly in Paris. Thousands echoed the message, chanting “their inaction costs us our future.”
The youth-driven movement initiated by Thunberg in 2018 has organized weekly school walkouts to sound climate alarms and demand accountability from leaders. Their protests have swelled into massive street mobilizations pressuring governments.
Experts widely agree Delaying decarbonization exacerbates climate change impacts already evident in heatwaves, storms and floods affecting communities worldwide. Fridays for Future demands align with scientific calls for rapid emissions cuts this decade to avert catastrophic warming.
“We have had enough of promises, any more greenwashing and we are fed up with fossil fuels,” said activist Luisa Neubauer to protestors before the Brandenburg Gate.
The next United Nations climate conference commencing November 6 is seen as a critical opportunity for nations to strengthen commitments under the Paris Agreement. COP27 will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Thunberg confirmed Friday she plans to attend to pressure leaders for “drastic immediate cuts of emissions.” Germany’s Neubauer also intends to press officials at COP27 to bolster climate financing for the developing world.
With increasingly dire scientific warnings that carbon neutrality must be achieved within decades, Fridays for Future continues leveraging public pressure to demand swifter action.
“Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is already devastating lives on all continents,” reiterated the group. “We will rise up until climate justice is delivered.”