“This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice,” wrote the Swedish activist and strike leader Greta Thunberg with other young climate activists in the Guardian Friday. “We knew there was a climate crisis … We knew, because everything we read and watched screamed out to us that something was very wrong.”
Thunberg, 16, began skipping school to strike in front of Sweden’s parliament in August. Soon students in other countries began to follow her lead in what became the Fridays for Future movement.
As her media presence has grown, Thunberg has become the voice of youth exasperation with policymakers’ failure to take steps to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions in the face of catastrophic climate change. “Our house is on fire,” she said in a January speech at Davos. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
What Thunberg and her fellow protesters want from governments now is to “keep fossil fuels in the ground, phase out subsidies for dirty energy production, seriously invest in renewables and start asking difficult questions about how we structure our economies and who is set to win and who is set to lose,” as they put it in the Guardian. And they have the backing of thousands of scientists who’ve signed letters of support.
Strikes are also expected Friday in more than 100 US cities, and have been organized in large part by three girls: Alexandria Villasenor, Haven Coleman, and Isra Hirsi, daughter of the headline-making first-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Here are some of the best photos and video we’ve seen of the strikes in the United States and around the world so far. This post will be updated throughout the day.