School’s out for the summer in Europe – but for many students, taking a break from the climate strikes they started is not an option.
Last week, 447 young climate strikers from 37 countries gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland to learn from each other and build the Fridays for Future movement. They made invaluable connections across borders, boosted their campaigning skills, and developed political demands.
Most of them have been on climate strike weekly in their hometowns every Friday, to demand urgent action from government and the fossil fuel industry to stop the climate crisis. Now, they want to expand the movement and bring millions more people out to thousands of global climate strikes on September 20 and 27. They hope to blow past the numbers seen at big coordinated strikes earlier this year, on March 15 and May 24, which counted nearly 2 million people worldwide.
But students have made it clear that empty words of encouragement from adults are not enough.
— 350 dot org (@350) August 12, 2019
“Adults, we need you. Help. We’re stronger when we’re together, and we can learn from your experience.”
– Francesca, 25, from Italy
“Everyone is affected by the current climate catastrophe. Adults need to move too for their future, our future, their kids’ future.” – Thomas, 17, from France
After 4 days of workshops and plenary meetings, the summit culminated on Friday 9 August with a powerful march through the centre of Lausanne. Chants and slogans in French, German, Spanish, and English echoed through the 3,000-strong crowd.
At the end of the march on the shores of Lake Geneva, students grieved at how the climate crisis is already impacting their homes. But they also celebrated the power of their growing movement – and shared excitement for what’s to come in September and beyond.
You can answer the students’ call for backup by attending a climate strike near you. Search the Global Climate Strike map to find and join an event near you for the Global Climate Strike on September 20 or 27. If you don’t see one, you can start one yourself. It’s easier than you think, and there are plenty of resources to help.