Massive planned global climate strikes were moved online due to the COVID-19 crisis. Youth strikers are calling for urgent action and a just recovery from the pandemic that puts people over profits.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a tragedy and its consequences will be felt for a long time, our climate is also irreversibly changing: the average global temperature has already risen by 1°C. 2020 is still the year where we need to take action for a climate safe future.
Today we come together to #FightEveryCrisis. The choices we make today will shape our futures and those of generations to come. COVID-19 is not a ‘one-off’ event from which we can just return to business as usual. We must recognise and fix our broken systems and #BuildBackBetter.
This Friday 24th April, we are calling on people around the world stand together in solidarity with people in a symbolic #EarthStrike. We are one people, one planet and we must build resilience and change the practices that have led to the crises we are facing today.
The solutions to the economic crisis must also be the solutions to the climate crisis. Any government intervention needs to put people and the climate first, not corporate polluters.” Eric Damien Njuguna – Nairobi, Kenya
Strikers are asking that people participate by designing signs, taking pictures of themselves and uploading the signs to social media using the hashtags #FightEveryCrisis & #EarthStrike
What are strikers around the world doing?
Arshak Makichyan – Moscow, Russia
We are planning a digital strike, highlighting important issues each Friday, posting art, and photos of us striking at home under #ClimateStrikeOnline, and using TikTok. The movement is only small in Russia though, and if we can’t stand in the street where everyone can see us, it is very hard to get the message across. So, we will spend a lot of time on calls – chatting, learning, and keeping motivation high. It’s important we get through this period, because it’s not a one-year struggle, especially here in Russia. They can’t stop us though, and they can’t put science and knowledge in jail. The movement consists of many independent and smart activists who will continue to act no matter what. Because youth is unstoppable, and it’s our future.
Ridhima Pandey – Uttarakhand, India
“We are now striking from home under #ClimateStrikeOnline, and doing it together through video calls. Right now the world is witnessing the Covid-19 epidemic, and trying to mitigate the situation, but in many ways it’s already out of our hands, so ‘lock down’ is the only option. For me, this response tells us a lot about the climate crisis. The IPCC says we only have a decade left to respond to the climate crisis, so we have to learn from this crisis, and world leaders need to act strongly and proactively together in order to save lives, rather than only when a disaster becomes impossible to ignore.”
Nicole Becker – Buenos Aires, Argentina
“My greatest fear is that the climate crisis will be completely ignored in this time of a global pandemic. This is a key period before COP26, now rescheduled to 2021, where countries will present their NDCs (nationally determined contributions). From Argentina, I hope that the Escazú Agreement (an environmental human rights treaty) will be ratified, that waste incineration will be prohibited, that an adequate budget will be allocated to the Forestry Law, and that a just transition towards renewable energy sources, not more support of oil and gas, will come.”
Eyal Weintraub – Buenos Aires, Argentina
“If there is one thing the Coronavirus pandemic has proven, it’s that governments have the ability to initiate drastic measures to avert catastrophes when necessary. The climate crisis is just as serious as this new global pandemic and yet we are not doing what is required to lower greenhouse emissions by 50% for 2030. Hopefully we will see countries not only promise to lower emission but also effectively act on their commitments and pass from empty speeches to concrete actions.”
Vanessa Nakate – Kampala, Uganda
“ We do face some real difficulties in Uganda. It is very hard for students to walk out of school – schools have tight security, and missing school can lead to expulsion. Also, strikes are not something that the government easily permits. In over a year of striking in Kampala, I’ve never been able to get a permit for a large strike. They’re not given out easily, so our numbers are usually not as big as the numbers you see in some countries, like in Europe.
But, many of those that do come out, are on the front line of the climate crisis. They have seen the impacts themselves, and their families have been affected by droughts, flooding, landslides, and locusts. That is why, even though the numbers are small, it feels equally powerful.
Although our digital channels may give us a platform in these times, many people in my country don’t have reliable access to a phone or the internet like I do. These are also often people that are already most affected by the climate crisis. So, it is up to those of us who have platforms during this time of lockdown, to use our voices to speak for them.”
Jessica Maoh – Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
“In the Pacific, we had planned a mobilisation on the streets, but COVID-19 and Cyclone Harold forced us to rethink our plans for the April Global Climate Strikes. We moved our focus online. As part of our digital tactics, we’re asking our members to make videos to send to local TV or radio channels to play during commercial breaks. We’re also using this time to focus on building our movement and our strategy for the future. I’m asking our members to send me the messages that they think represent the voices of the Pacific and their concerns about climate change most powerfully.”