Bogotá, Colombia: during May 24 global climate strike a girl’s sign reads ‘Greta, we’re with you!’. Photo: Cristina Juliana
With Friday's second coordinated global climate strikes, youth in 133 countries brought even more people to the streets. Their message got both louder, and clearer: "Our planet's still burning. We’re not going anywhere. Who’s actually with us?"
The day kicked off with a characteristically direct call out from Greta Thunberg and other youth leaders for adults to join them for their next global climate strikes on 20 September right before the next UN climate summit. Dozens of famous actors, activists, authors and artists responded, and groups around the world have already pledged to stage a week of strikes and actions including a general strike on September 27.
In this edition of Fossil Free News, I focus on Friday’s highlights – and share some of the climate stories you might’ve missed over the past two weeks, too.
In Case You Missed It
Students in Bangalore, India blockaded Town Hall entrance. Photo: S Kumar, Twitter: @catchsens
Asia rising: In Bangalore, students flooded the Town Hall steps on Friday demanding climate justice. They were undeterred by the result of India’s election days earlier, which gave Modi a second term despite his weak climate record and divisive rhetoric.
In Tokyo, school strikers marched and lifted up campaigns urging Japan’s banks to drop coal finance, ahead of the G20 meeting scheduled there in June. See more highlights from Asia and around the world
Groups demanded Australia declare a climate emergency and drastically cut emissions. Photo: Adrianna Zappavigna, AAP
Emboldened and empowered: Melbourne’s downtown slowed to a standstill as thousands gathered and laid their bodies on the ground in a “die-in”, to illustrate the urgency of the climate crisis. More spontaneous die-ins were staged in Ottawa, London, Paris, New York, and other cities throughout the day. Watch more from Melbourne (Twitter)
Student protestors gather outside the Ukrainian government in Kiev.
New kids on the block: The final tally for the day counted nearly 1900 strikes in 133 countries. Many held events for the first time: like the cities of Odessa and Rivne, both in Ukraine. In its capital Kiev, actions were more disruptive with students drawing the Minister of Ecology out of his government office and interrupting him: “Enough talking, start acting!”
A grassroots women’s group in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, held a sports competition and raised awareness on the need for 100% renewable energy in Africa.
Decoalonisation: Organizers channelled Friday’s momentum straight into Afrika Vuka. Celebrating the liberation of the continent 56 years ago, Afrika Vuka day focused attention on liberating Africa from fossil fuel exploitation. Almost 60 events across 20 countries including a march of communities affected by mining and fracking calling for a national ban in South Africa; hundreds of Nigerian students marching to the federal parliament to ask MPs to pass the climate bill, and more.
After attempting to occupy the European Parliament Saturday, school strikers from Fridays for Future urged people to Vote Climate outside. Photo: Luisa Neubauer
European elections: School strikers in Europe didn’t skip a beat either: they were in Brussels on Saturday, jumping on the chance to link the movement to ongoing European elections, which closed Sunday night. The results bring both hope and alarm. For the first time in the EU’s history, climate urgency was a decisive issue for many voters, and boosted progressive and green parties. But the power of nationalists and fearmongers rose too.
Activists disrupt Shell's shareholder meeting in The Hague. Photo: Code Rood
AGM season: It’s that time of year where big multinational fossil fuel corporations hold shareholder meetings. This year activist groups targeted BP and Shell meetings in the UK and the Netherlands, while in the US groups in Texas are preparing to tackle Exxon Mobil. Activists vowed it would be Shell’s last meeting, delivering a scathing warning in the heart of the AGM. And Greenpeace storage tankers stocked with supplies blocked entrances to BP’s headquarters for 14 hours in London. More
Global Optimism dropped a new edition of its podcast on the day of the strikes, co-hosted by former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. She alludes to “a climate spring,” and discusses the shift from student strikes towards general climate strikes this September with Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. They also dive in to the disappointing Australian election results. Listen
Use Your Power
School strikers are calling on everyone: young people, parents, workers, and all concerned humans to join a week of massive climate strikes and actions starting on September 20 and going through September 27.
People all over the world will use their power to stop “business as usual” in the face of the climate emergency. Will you join young people in the streets to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and emergency action to avoid climate breakdown? Sign up, then watch and share this video.
One to Watch
Are you wondering how we got to this point? Vice Media just released a 35-minute documentary about the coming-of-age of the student strike movement. I saw it premiere on Friday evening in Paris – highly recommended! Watch
That's it for now. We'll be back in two weeks with more climate movement news from around the world.
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