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Student-Led Climate Strikes Happening in 130+ Countries

Climate
Austrian youth gather outside the Hofburg palace in Vienna for a climate protest as part of the 'Fridays For Future' movement on a global day of student protests aiming to spark world leaders into action on climate change on March 15. JOE KLAMAR / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

"We are unstoppable. Another world is possible."


That was the message of the youth-led School Strike for Climate movement on Friday as hundreds of thousands of students across the globe walked out of class and flooded the streets to demand immediate action against the ecological crisis, which threatens to render the planet uninhabitable for future generations.

With events planned in more than 130 countries on every continent, the strikes are expected to be one of the largest global climate demonstrations in history — and they come at a time when the scientific community has never been more clear about the necessity of urgent and ambitious action.

Organizers estimate that millions of people will participate in strikes throughout the world.

"Politicians have responded with indifference to our crippling summer of record heat, bushfires, and floods. It's no wonder so many came out in support today," Nosrat Fareha a 16-year-old climate activist from Western Sydney, said as more than 150,000 students and adult supporters poured into the streets of Australia on Friday.

"There's no time to stand by and wait for the bold action we need," Fareha added.

Inspired by the tireless campaigning of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this week, the youth-led movement for climate action quickly went global as students began walking out of class each Friday to pressure their political leaders.

"These strikes are happening today—from Washington D.C. to Moscow, Tromsø to Invercargill, Beirut to Jerusalem, and Shanghai to Mumbai—because politicians have failed us," Thunberg and several of her fellow youth leaders wrote in the Guardian on Friday. "We've seen years of negotiations, pathetic deals on climate change, fossil fuel companies being given free rein to carve open our lands, drill beneath our soils, and burn away our futures for their profit."

"Politicians have known the truth about climate change," the students wrote, "and they've willingly handed over our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence."

With the mass global demonstrations on Friday, youth and their adult supporters—including members of the scientific community and trade unions—are hoping to deliver a resounding condemnation of the status quo.

"There is no grey area when it comes to survival," declared Thunberg and her fellow youth climate leaders. "That's why young people are striking in every corner of the globe, and it's why we are asking that older people join us on the streets too."

Videos and images from the massive strikes in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Germany and other nations quickly spread across social media:

Iosef Boraei, a youth activist with Young Friends of the Earth Cyprus who helped organize strikes in Nicosia, said students are striking because young people "are on the front line of climate change."

"We cannot leave our future in anybody else's hands, the people in power have lost our trust, and it's now up to us to take the lead," Boraei said. "Governments should listen to science and to those who will be affected the most. Fossil fuels must stop being extracted, we must change politics, the current economy and all aspects of our current lifestyle—a system change. And this has to happen now."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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