On September 20th, 2019, hundreds of millions of people all over the world took to the streets, neighborhoods, and capital hill to raise awareness about climate change.
A quarter of a million young people gathered in New York City to protest, saying that the "government is not doing enough to protect our planet". Even in places like Afghanistan, which currently contains war zones, kids are accompanied by armed guards marching through the street, using their voices to bring awareness to their ill-fated future.
And at least two Democratic presidents, Julián Castro and Beto O'Rourke, joined the climate change protests. O'Rourke tweeted out that " Climate change isn't a distant threat, it's already here. Following the lead of students like @GretaThunberg who I will be striking in solidarity with today, we must do everything to end it".
So how did it all begin? What caused this mass movement? It all stems from a young Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg who inspired the #FridaysForFuture campaign. The FFF was created by thousands of young people across the world who took inspiration from Thunberg's protests for action on climate change in her homeland of Sweden. Last year she was brought to the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference to give a speech, and it landed her a great deal of publicity. She established her main point as a fight against the politicians and world leaders who have left their contributions to climate change to future generations. As quoted from Thunberg's 2018 UN Climate Change speech, she states that "our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money".
Although Thunberg was trying to raise awareness of the situation by using her image as a young activist, she also created a stigma. Lots of people began to withdraw their support for the FFF because it provided a way for children to skip school. The millennial generation and the parents of those children say that instead of marching down streets and trying to get the current indolent politicians to do something about the situation, the young should be using their time in school to study and act on that knowledge in the future.
In addition, Thunberg received a lot of negative criticism towards her speeches. One commenter wrote, "There are many real heroes and heroines in the world who are doing a great job for the environment but no one knows them because they are not protesting in front of parliament or giving a lecture on the environment. They believe in work, not a publicity stunt".
Although some people may think that Greta Thunberg is just a UN publicity stunt, the organization she inspired has real drive and has become a movement for people spanning the globe. Hopefully, in the future, this march will not only gather more people to join the fight against climate change but also inspire government officials to take action and save the world while we still can.
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