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Students' strike for climate movement gathers momentum

Fridays for Future demonstration, Jan 2019 (L. Lenz)Fridays for Future demonstration, Jan 2019 (L. Lenz)An international movement of pupils and students called School Strike for Climate, also known in different countries as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate or Youth Strike 4 Climate, is gathering pace. Instead of attending classes, thousands of students all over the world are taking part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. The movement began when Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, staged a solo protest outside the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) in August 2018.

Greta Thunberg (Photo: Jan Ainali)Greta Thunberg (Photo: Jan Ainali)

Greta Thunberg

On 20th August 2018 Greta Thunberg, then 15 years old, decided to not attend school until 9th September, the date of the Swedish general election. Her decision followed a summer of heat waves and wildfires in her home country. She demanded that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions as laid down in the Paris Agreement. She protested by sitting outside the Riksdag every day during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for the climate). She announced that she would continue to strike every Friday until Sweden conformed with the Paris Agreement. Gaining worldwide attention, Greta inspired school students across the globe to take part in similar strikes.

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