Protests For Climate Change Awareness

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Protests For Climate Change Awareness

Branden Leong, Staff Writer

An estimated 4 million young people around the globe poured into the streets of thousands of major cities on Friday, Sept. 20, releasing their complaints and concerns about a warming planet which many world leaders have neglected. In hopes that governments and higher authorities will now take action, protests struck Berlin, Melbourne, London, Manhattan, Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, and even in Antarctica.

Marchers in New York City claimed that they deserve the same future that previous generations had, without a global catastrophe. Their action plan: protest, then vote to contribute to the stop-global-warming effort. Numerous signs, often filled with humor, such as ones reading “Climate emergency now”, “This planet is hotter than my imaginary boyfriend”, and “Stop the global pyromania” lined streets across the globe, expressing the concerns millions share across the globe, according to The New York Times.

Will protests in the streets lead to the future the millions have imagined? It could happen, only if their efforts are turned into a sustained political movement in which governments around the globe are pressured to help these people. Ever since the industrial age, the United States has released more carbon emissions than any other country, which has led to revolts in all 50 states. One protester, Azalea Danes, claimed that their efforts will by no means achieve their goals all on their own, but rather act as a “catalyst for future mobilization.”

Political scientists claim that these protests will be crucial in the advancement of the protesters’ agenda. Megan Mullin, a professor at Duke University, argues that what makes revolts like these successful are the “concentrated political pressure that can influence government decisions” brought from the scale and magnitude of these revolutions. Many major cities held rallies with over 100,000 people, while many other cities had turnouts in the 10,000s. Rich or poor, black or white, atheist or religious, the revolt was unified through their common rage for ignorance.

Beginning in the Asia-Pacific region, over 100,000 people rallied in Melbourne, Australia, temporarily shutting down public transports for hours on end. Then, the protests spread to Sydney, Australia; and Quezon City, Philippines. According to The New York Times, revolters were angered by the way their elders treated their planet which would be handed down to the next generation, when they were told to “respect their elders”.

In Europe, the revolution struck Warsaw, Poland; Berlin, Germany; and London, England, where roughly 100,000 people showed up at each location. These coal-reliant countries found many of their citizens angered by the harm the carbon-dioxide emissions could have on their planet.

Even students, who should be in school and may be too young and uneducated to be protesting on such a topic, are revolting, saying that protesting is more important than school because “soon there may be no school to go to,” as one student in London said. By noon, many civilians across the Eastern Seaboard found themselves lining the streets, pooling around steps of city halls and governmental buildings.

In Maryland, even though the streets were blocked off, students rode to the protest site via bicycle and skateboard, and in Iowa, protesters dripped with sweat as the temperature rose to over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Chants across the country shouted, “Green New Deal, make it real,” as a reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan on attacking global warming and the climate crisis.

Three days later, the global protests climaxed when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, shared an emotional speech at the United Nations headquarters about the problems with what everyone has been doing: giving speeches yet doing nothing. “How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight,” argues Thunberg. She presents statistics that may show that our world is collapsing before our very eyes, as well as the consequences if we don’t act quickly. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Photo courtesy of MEDIUM.COM