The return of the school strikes for climate

Skolstrejk: In 2018, Greta Thunberg protested for three weeks outside the Swedish parliament. © Getty

Do protests really work? School climate strikes returned on Friday for a world day of climate action – but some people believe that protests will make little difference to the future.

What’s happening

The year is 2018. A 15-year-old girl is sitting outside the parliament building in Stockholm. She sits by herself while everyone else is in school. The banner in front of her reads, “Skolstrejk för Klimatet”.

Today, the phrase is famous all over the world. It means “school strike for climate”.

Find out more

Greta Thunberg’s protest led to children all over the word joining Fridays for Future. Every Friday, millions of schoolchildren across the world take part in strikes for the climate.

Instead of going to school the children aim to draw attention to the climate crisis, so that governments will make better decisions that will help the planet.

Last week, Fridays for Future started its weekly protests after months of lockdown – but with a difference. They all took place online.

Young people took pictures of banners and made videos to share on social media.

Since Fridays for Future strikes began, Greta has held marches around Europe and in the US. She has spoken at the UN. She has even been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Do protests really work?

Some say…

Not really. Protests hardly ever achieve what they aim to do. Only the largest demonstrations can hope to make any kind of change. Most of them are too small to be noticed by the people that matter – like world leaders. The best way to make a difference is to write letters to politicians or create petitions that ask governments to make changes.

Others think…

Of course they do! Protests can bring about change. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations this summer show how much power we have when we come together. Fridays for Future strikes are peaceful and powerful. They are a useful way for young people to show the world’s governments that they care, especially when they are too young to vote.

You Decide

  1. Is it right to skip school to help the planet?

Activities

  1. Design a poster you could share on social media to take part in the virtual Fridays for Future protests.

Some People Say...

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

What do you think?

Word Watch

Parliament building
The building where politicians meet to discuss and debate important issues. It is the place where laws are made. Greta Thunberg sat outside the parliament in Sweden for three weeks before an election to ask her government to make decisions that would help the climate.
Stockholm
The capital city of Sweden.
Governments
The political leaders of a country. They decide and propose laws, including laws that affect the climate.
UN
The United Nations. It is the most important wordwide organisation that promotes peace between countries.
Nominated
To be chosen or put forward for something. In competitions or elections, many people are nominated, but usually only one of them wins.
Nobel Peace Prize
A famous prize that recognises when somebody has made a huge difference to world peace. Previous people to win the prize have been Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.
Black Lives Matter demonstrations
Over the summer millions of people all around the world took part in very large marches to protest against unfair treatment of black people.
Petition
A formal letter with a request that is signed by many people. In the UK, if 100,000 people sign a petition, Parliament has to consider the request.

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