Global Climate Revolt Escalates: 1,351+ Strikes in 110 Countries Planned for Friday
By Julia Conley
Two months after what was reportedly the largest international climate demonstration ever, young people around the world are expected to make history again on Friday with a second global climate strike.
Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began the global movement in which students around the world have walked out of their classrooms on a weekly basis since last fall to demand climate action, reported Tuesday that at least 1,351 separate strikes are now scheduled to take place all over the world on Friday.
Climate justice advocates plan to walk out of their schools and workplaces on every continent on the globe and in more than 100 countries.
Two strikes are planned in Antarctica, according to a map on the #FridaysForFuture website; countries including Afghanistan, Namibia and Uzbekistan are each planning at least one strike, while hundreds of rallies have been planned across Germany, France, the U.S. and several other countries.
350.org called on supporters to stand with the students leading the global call for an end to fossil fuel extraction in order to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Students will go on #climatestrike again in 100+ countries across the world this Friday. It’s time for us all to use our power, our voices, our actions, our votes and stand with them. @gretathunberg @strikeclimate @fridayforFuture @UKSCN1 @NamugerwaLeah #FridaysforFuture pic.twitter.com/rhQGePJN0H— 350 dot org (@350) May 20, 2019
Thunberg held the first climate strike last fall, holding a one-person protest outside Swedish Parliament and demanding that her elected officials begin a shift toward renewable energy sources to help stem the warming of the globe.
Young people who have organized their own protests in recent months argue that they will still be relatively young in 2030, the year that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns the climate crisis will be irreversible unless world leaders take action now to stop the carbon emissions which are rapidly warming the planet.
While government officials who refuse to act now may not have many more decades left on the planet, youth organizers argue, young people will face the consequences of that inaction.
I am 13 and turning 14 in less than a month.— Holly Gillibrand (@HollyWildChild) May 13, 2019
In 2030, climate change will be irreversible if we do not act now.
I will only be 25 years old. #FridaysForFuture #SchoolStrike4Climate with us on May the 24th. pic.twitter.com/OfGD9C9WzF
In recent weeks, grassroots climate protests have successfully pressured some government leaders into officially recognizing the climate crisis and pledging to take action. Lawmakers in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales officially declared a climate emergency in the wake of mass protests by the global movement Extinction Rebellion in April.
And the head of the European Commission pledged in February to spend a quarter of the EU's budget on combating the climate crisis beginning in 2021, under pressure from Thunberg.
"Activism works. So act," Thunberg tweeted this week, sharing a video featuring young people who plan to walk out of their schools on Friday.
May 24th.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 18, 2019
Global strike for the climate.
Activism works. So act.
Find or register your local strike on https://t.co/TNBxafQoQL and follow Fridaysforfuture on Instagram for updates.
Please share this information.#fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #SchoolStrike4Climate pic.twitter.com/TMWcLCmpMs
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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