Greta Thunberg (center) at a climate protest in Berlin in March, 2019. Credit: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images
Teen Activists Worldwide Prepare to Strike for Climate Led by Greta Thunberg
The 16-year-old Swedish high school student speaks for millions of angry youth around the world who fear for their future as the planet warms.
By Kristoffer Tigue, Sep 19, 2019
Greta Thunberg (center), shown here at a climate protest in Berlin in March, has helped launch a global youth movement calling for action on climate change. Credit: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images
NEW YORK — Alessandro Dal Bon, a 15-year-old Manhattan high school student, is a newly minted organizer in a fast-growing global youth movement that's hoping to pull off the largest climate protest the world has ever seen, with demonstrations planned Friday in 120 countries and all 50 states.
With the New York City public school system having told its 1.1 million students that their absences will be excused if they participate in the strike, there is no telling how large the protest could be in New York alone. Dal Bon and other teens say they are scared by a rapidly warming planet and deeply concerned over what the future may bring. They know that the climate damage from greenhouse gas emissions—and the costs—will only grow if the world doesn't act now.
Like many others, Dal Bon was inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has galvanized the youth movement and is scheduled to lead a rally in New York on Friday. Sign up for InsideClimate News Weekly Our stories. Your inbox. Every weekend.
At a congressional hearing this week, she submitted a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and asked lawmakers to listen to the scientists rather than her own written testimony. On Monday, she addresses the United Nations Climate Summit. Climate Activist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, said he's seeing people organizing around Friday's global climate strike in ways he's never seen before.
The Global Climate Strike coalition estimated that "millions" of people would take to the streets on Friday. "I've had the privilege of being part of every big climate mobilization that there has been," McKibben said. "So, I think I'm in a position to say that this climate strike is going to be the biggest day of climate action that Earth has yet seen."
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The movement's momentum has already pushed presidential candidates to address climate change much more explicitly than in the past, as they demonstrated two weeks ago during an unprecedented seven-hour town hall dedicated to climate change and broadcast live on CNN. And some political scientists believe that energy could transform into a powerful 2020 voting bloc, with many polls showing climate change and health care as the top two issues among Democratic voters. ...