Last week, 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg and hundreds of other young activists protested in front of the White House, demanding action on climate change. This Friday, September 20th, they’ll be joined by thousands of other young (and older) protestors across the world to take part in a global the Climate Strike. But what exactly is the strike? And how can you support the protests if you’re not able to join in?
What exactly is the Climate Strike?
Inspired by Thunberg’s protest last year, the strike on September 20 aims to bring awareness to the climate crisis in the days preceding the UN’s climate change summit; students have pledged to walk out from schools to “call attention” to the crisis and to make certain demands.
U.S. Youth Climate Strike, made up of eight youth-led groups, is demanding changes from U.N. leaders that include support of the Green New Deal, implementation of sustainable agriculture, and the protection of indigenous lands and waterways. (There isn’t one organization responsible for the strike, but rather, groups all over the world; while their demands may differ, the intent is the same.)
At least 900 Amazon employees at the company’s Seattle headquarters have pledged to walk out, too. And stores like Patagonia, Burton, and Lush have agreed to close their U.S. stores in support. “These Climate Strikes won’t solve the climate crisis alone,” the Global Climate Strike’s website reads.” What this moment can do is demonstrate that people are no longer willing to continue with business as usual.”
According to 350, a non-profit dedicated to climate change awareness, at least 450 climate strikes registered across the U.S. so far and 2,500 globally. And New York City public schools are excusing students who are absent from school to strike (with parental consent).
How can I help?
If you want to strike, first, you should understand what it means for you and your job; depending on your occupation, like some state employees, a strike may be considered illegal. As Vice suggests, you might initially suggest to a supervisor to close their doors for the day (or even just a couple of hours) to honor the strike. “Probably this won’t be successful if you work for a large corporation like Chase Bank or Walmart,” Geoff Dembicki writes for Vice. “But small businesses like coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and clothing stores could be receptive. The same goes for medium-size office workplaces.”
Alternatively, use your lunch break to join a local demonstration; you should check out the Strike With Us’ website to find nearby events. Depending on your location, Climate Strike events might be taking place throughout the week, too. And if calling out sick is out of the question, you can donate to organizations like the US Youth Climate Strike (all proceeds will go toward future strikes and initiatives according to their GoFundMe page). And make a public statement of support on social media and help amplify the
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