From the South Pacific on the edge of the Arctic Circle, students mobilized by social media and word of mouth skipped Friday's lesson to protest against what they believe is the inability of their governments to take tough action against global warming. Meetings have been one of the largest international actions so far, involving hundreds of thousands of students in more than 100 countries around the world.
The coordinated "school strikes" were inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish activist, which started holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year. Since then, weekly protests have grown from a handful of cities to hundreds, fueled by dramatic headlines on the impact of climate change during the lives of students.
Thunberg, who was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, declared during a demonstration in Stockholm that the world faces an "existential crisis, the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and yet it has been ignored for decades by those who have known it And you know who you are, you who ignored it and are the most guilty of it, "he said, as protesters applauded his name.
All over the world, protests by the big and small have urged politicians to act against climate change, also highlighting local environmental problems.
- Speakers at the United States Capitol in Washington he was behind a banner that said "We don't want to die".
- In New York City, students sang "Save our planet" and "Climate change must go" near the entrance to Central Park.
- In Berlin, the police said as many as 20,000 protesters, most of them young students, gathered in a downtown square, waving placards with slogans like "March now or swim after" and "Climate protection card: F" before marching in government quarter of the capital with a stop in front of Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.
- In Poland, thousands marched in the rains Warsaw and other cities to ask for a ban on burning coal, which is a major source of carbon dioxide. Some wore facial masks as they carried banners that said "Today's modern smells like the last days of the planet" and "Make love not CO2".
- In the capital of India New Delhi, the pupils protested over the inertia about climate change and the increase in air pollution levels that often far exceed the limits of the World Health Organization.
- "Now or Never" was among the signs wielded by enthusiastic teenagers who crowded the cobbled streets around the domed building of the Pantheon, which rises above the left bank in Paris. Several thousand students gathered peacefully around the landmark. Some have targeted French President Emmanuel Macron, who considers himself the guarantor of but he is criticized by activists for being too sociable and not ambitious enough in efforts to reduce French emissions.
- About 50 students protested in the capital of South Africa, Pretoria, singing "There is no planet B." A protester held a sign saying "You Miss The Rains Down in Africa". Experts say that Africa, with its population of over 1 billion people, should be hit harder by global warming, although it contributes less to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it.
- Police in Vienna said that around 10,000 students gathered in the Austrian capital, while in neighboring Switzerland a similar number protested in the western city of Lausanne. Last month, lawmakers in the Basel North Canton of Basel symbolically declared "a climate emergency".
- In HelsinkiThe police said that about 3,000 students gathered in front of the Finnish Parliament with sports posters like: "The dinosaurs thought they had time too!"
- Thousands marched Madrid and more than 50 other Spanish cities. Spain is vulnerable to rising sea levels and rapid desertification.
A website used to coordinate the events listed in over 2,000 cities. In the United States.,founded Youth Climate Strike U.S. along with 12, Haven Coleman and Isra Hirsi, 16 years old.
They ask, among other things, "100% renewable energy by 2030," said CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil. For more than three months, Villasenor acted as a holiday resort on the 7th grade on Friday and went to the U.N. headquarters. of New York in the hope of pushing adults to act against global warming.
"Given that climate change will be a global problem, I decided this would be the best place to strike," he told CBS News. He expected students to strike in all 50 states on Friday.
In a speech on Friday outside the UK, Villasenor said that world leaders were not listening. "Our world leaders are those who act like children," he said. "They are the ones who have the whims, they fight each other and refuse to take responsibility for their actions while the planet burns."
Carla Reemtsma, a 20-year-old university student who helped organize the protest in Berlin, said she was part of about 50 WhatsApp groups dedicated to the climate change discussion. "A lot happens on social media because you can reach many young people very quickly and show them: look, there are many of us," he told the Associated Press. "C & # 39; is a very low threshold, so we reach a huge number of people".
"I think that's how we managed to be so big," Reemtsma said. Many protesters in Berlin targeted politicians such as the pro-business leader of the German Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, for suggesting that complicated issues such as climate change were "a matter of professionals" not of students.
Others, including the German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, have invited students to stage protests outside of school hours.
Volker Quaschning, professor of engineering at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences, said it was easy for politicians to belittle students. "That's why they need our support," he said. "If we do nothing, the parts of this planet could become uninhabitable by the end of the century."
Scientists supported the protests, with thousands of signatures signed to support students in Britain, Finland, Germany and the United States. "It gives me great hope," commented environmentalist Bill McKibben to CBS News collaborating meteorologist Jeff Berardelli. "This new generation is doing everything possible to make sure that older people do not preclude the possibility of a decent life: it's nice to see their courage, their passion – if anyone ever thought that the boys today & # 39 ; they didn't care about the world, or are spending all their time with video games, photos from around the world should renew their faith. "
Scientists have warned for decades that the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions are unsustainable, so far with little effect. In 2015, world leaders agreed in Paris to maintain the increase in the global temperature of the Earth by the end of the century well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Yet at the moment, the world is on its way to an increase of 4 degrees Celsius, which according to experts would have far-reaching consequences for life on the planet. In Germany, environmental groups and experts have attacked the government's plans to continue using coal and natural gas in the decades to come.
Quaschning, who was one of more than 23,000 German-speaking scientists to sign a letter of support this week, said that Germany should aim to "decarbonize" completely by 2040. This would give the less advanced nations a little more time to wean yourself from fossil fuels as you continue to reach the Paris goal globally.
"This will require radical measures and there is still no sign of this happening," Quaschning said.
A survey published on Friday by the German public broadcaster ZDF found that 67% of respondents supported student protests during school hours, with 32% opposed. The representative telephone survey conducted between 12 and 14 March involved 1,290 randomly chosen voters. The margin of error was about 3 percentage points.
In Stockholm, Greta Thunberg predicted that the students will not let their protests go. "C & # 39; is a crisis before us with which we must live, with which we will have to live together for all our lives, our children, our grandchildren and all future generations," he said.
"We will not accept this, we will not allow this to happen and that is why we are going on strike, we are on strike because we want a future, we will continue," he said.