Fridays for Future: Students hold international climate change protests

Student climate strikes go global

'If you don't act like adults, we will'

Thousands of students walked out of class in Sydney, kicking off global protests on Friday. They got the attention they wanted. Some Australian politicians hit back with criticism. "For action on issues that they think is important, they should do that after school or on weekends," said Education Minister Dan Tehan.

Student climate strikes go global

Students bring grown-ups into line

Protesters in New Zealand invited adults to join the march. "If we go on strike on a school day, then they'll notice and they might want to do something," said 14-year-old student Inese, who didn't want to give her full name. And her prime minister is listening. Jacinda Ardern supports the strikes and has pledged NZ$100 million (€60 million/$68 million) to cut greenhouse gases.

Student climate strikes go global

Truth to power

The movement has snowballed since 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg began skipping school to protest in front of parliament last August. On March 15, her protest spread from Vanuatu to Hong Kong (pictured here), Tashkent to Madagascar. In Thailand, one of the world's top plastic polluters, students campaigned against single-use plastics.

Student climate strikes go global

Seoul to Singapore

From Seoul to Singapore, each city's students spoke out in their own way. Here in South Korea, 100 students held signs saying "Too warm 4 school" and "Don't deny climate change." In Singapore, strict laws regulate public assembly so young people planned a virtual campaign on social media.

Student climate strikes go global

'To educate adults'

In India, protests were seen in 36 different cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Students in New Delhi chanted slogans demanding the Indian government stop using coal and act against climate change and air pollution.

Student climate strikes go global

Berlin takes matters into its own hands

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported the movement, some German students are still afraid to skip school. But not all. Protests were planned for 200 cities across the country. In the German capital, the crowds were huge by midday.

Student climate strikes go global

Braving the storm

In the western German city of Cologne, students braved the wet weather. Massive storms have recently battered that part of the country, though they only appeared to fan the flames of the students' protest.

Student climate strikes go global

Swedish inspiration

Greta Thunberg (center) led one of the many protests in Sweden. She said she was excited that protests had spread to 2,052 places in 123 countries. Asked if adults should strike too, she replied: "It's up to them, if they want their kids to have a future."

Student climate strikes go global

'Denial is not a policy'

Students in South African cities, including Cape Town and Pretoria, joined in the school strike. Africa, with more than 1 billion people, is expected to be hardest hit by global warming even though it contributes the least to greenhouse gas emissions.

Student climate strikes go global

Strike across the US

Strikes were held by students in cities across the country, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and St. Paul, Minnesota. In June 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement on mitigating climate change.

Student climate strikes go global

Guterres: 'My generation has failed'

Montreal drew among the largest crowds, estimated by organizers at nearly 150,000. The global movement saw a response from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he was inspired by the climate strikers to call a special summit in September to deal with "the climate emergency."

A global school strike against climate change inaction is underway. Protests have taken place or will do so in more than 100 countries, all following the example of one young Swedish climate activist.

Schoolchildren across the world are joining the global Fridays for Future protests, demanding global leaders take action on climate change. The movement, started by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, is expected to see children, their parents and their supporters take to the streets in 1,500 cities in more than 100 countries.

Nature and Environment | 24.01.2019

Read more: 'We can make a difference': Voices of school climate strikers from around the world

The eastern Australian city of Melbourne saw one of the largest protests in the country.

In New Zealand, one of the other countries where the protests kicked off, strike organizers said they were pleased after a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, saying they believed their government would take positive steps.

"But this is a crisis and we need to start treating it as such," they said in a statement.

Nature and Environment | 15.03.2019

A march in Christchurch, New Zealand was cut short by a lockdown after shootings at two local mosques. Participating students were confirmed to be safe, Mayor Lianne Dalziel told the New Zealand site Newshub.

German pupils join the fray

DW's Kate Brady was at the protest in the German capital, Berlin, and tweeted about one banner that cited actor Channing Tatum as an example of "hotness", but warned rather of the kind of heat caused by climate warming.

She said thousands were expected at the Berlin rally.

The protesters in Berlin, who included, for the first time, parents and scientists, planned to make a stop in front of Chancellor Angela Merkel's office. Several other German cities have also seen similar rallies.

Read more: 6 things you can do to avoid climate catastrophe

Infografik Klimademos weltweit 15.3.2019 EN

Critics: Students should protest 'after school or on weekends'

Children say they are walking out of school to bring greater attention to the impending crises that will have more of an impact on their generation than on those making current policy.

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 Ardern's engagement has been unusual, as many politicians in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have chastized the children for missing a day of school.

"For action on issues that they think is important, they should do that after school or on weekends," Australia's Education Minister Dan Tehan told reporters ahead of protests in Melbourne.

In Germany, the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Lindner, went so far as to discourage the student's political engagement. He was then mocked on social media for writing on Twitter that "politics is for professionals."

Germany's Chancellor Merkel, however, has backed the protests, calling it a "very good initiative."

Read more: Germany: From leader to loser on climate protection?

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00:28 mins.
DW News | 01.03.2019

'It's not about me, it's about the climate'

The Fridays for Future movement has become a global phenomenon since activist Greta Thunberg staged the first demonstration in front of the Swedish parliament building last August.

She came to worldwide attention when she was invited to address the UN Climate Conference in December. She has been nominated by three Norwegian lawmakers for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The protesters are all calling on the world's governments to work to keep the Earth's global temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, as agreed by many leaders in Paris in 2015. At present, the world is on track for an increase of 4 degrees Celsius, which scientists say could have far-reaching and sometimes catastrophic effects on life on the planet.

Read more: Climate protection: Where do the EU's right-wing populists stand?

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Eco India | 01.02.2019

CO2 reduction as a family experiment

tj,es/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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