Boston, MA– There always seems to be some group of people congregating near the Park Street T station making it harder to get around, but this time it was part of a worldwide organized effort.
On Friday, hundreds of students, ranging from elementary school to college-aged, skipped their classes to demand action on climate change. Locally, students demanded that the Green New Deal be enacted in congress, and that Massachusetts enact their own version of the bill.
"We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis," the Youth Climate Strike website stated. "We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time."
Students participated in the strike across over 100 countries, from Uganda to France to the U.K. to Australia, students walked out of their classes all demanding action from their leaders regarding climate change.
So what was the catalyst for this worldwide strike? A 16-year-old Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg. Starting last summer, Thunberg began weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish parliament on Fridays. Her ability to speak frankly in public on the subject has granted her many international audiences. She spoke at the UN climate talks, and more recently at this year's World Economic Forum. Those speeches inspired young people across the world to take action.
In Massachusetts, WBUR spoke to the leaders of the climate march here. 16-year-old Saraphina Forman said: "In terms of the Youth Climate Strike, my friend sent me a video of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, and it inspired me. What she says is so true. How can we just go on living our normal lives and doing business as usual when our leaders are doing nothing? We’re on the edge of an extinction here. We can’t ignore the threat."
Nationally, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has criticized the Green New Deal, while Democrat presidential hopefuls have spoken in support of the legislation.