Students around the world skip school to demand action on climate change

Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Student-led protests kicked off around the world Friday, with thousands of young people skipping school, calling for action on climate change.

The student “strikes” and other events were scheduled to take place in more than 100 countries, spanning from Australia to France to the United States, with some students protesting outside of their schools to others marching in the streets.

Using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, the organizers say they hope to bring attention to what they say needs to be done to stop climate change.

The protests were inspired by a Swedish teenager named Greta Thunberg, who has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Last September, she began a solo protest outside of the Swedish Parliament that led to her heading a climate change march of thousands of students through Brussels.

Her movement inspired the organizers of #FridaysForFuture, one of whom is Isra Hirsi, the 16-year-old daughter of controversial freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. They will be part of protest Friday at the U.S. Capitol.

“We have 11 years to avoid a catastrophic climate change,” said Hirsi. “That’s why we are striking today. The youth hereby declare a national emergency on climate change.”

Omar says she shares the same passion as her daughter for action on climate change, which has helped propel the Green New Deal onto the national stage.

The Green New Deal is a wide-reaching initiative that its supporters say aims to transform the economy to combat the issues of climate change and inequality. The proposal would call for the U.S. economy to depend solely on renewable energy by 2030 as well as investments in the nation’s education, infrastructure and health care systems.

Hirsi echoed the words of her mother in support of the Green New Deal, and urged young voters in 2020 to support candidates who will back the initiative.

“Vote for people who believe that 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 is possible and are determined to make it happen,” said Hirsi. “People who know that fossil fuels are a thing of the past and that the future is renewable energy.”

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