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‘I’m Angry I Have To Be Here’: Young People Lead Global Climate Strike to Protest Inaction

Climate Greta

Thousands of young people took part in what could go down as the largest global demonstration ever in the fight against climate change, Vox reports.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and countless young people around the world skipped school on Friday and took to the streets to demand action on climate change.

The young protesters were joined by climate activists, indigenous groups, and workers from companies like Google and Amazon to call for a transition from fossil fuels.

More than 2,500 events were scheduled in over 150 countries Friday.

The events kicked off in Australia, where the New York Times reports more than 100,000 people marched in Melbourne, shutting down public transit for hours, and thousands more protested in Sydney.

“Adults are, like, ‘respect your elders.’ And we’re, like, ‘respect our futures,’” said Sydney protester Jemima Grimmer, 13. “You know, it’s a two-way street, respect, and I’m angry that I have to be here.”

Protests around the globe -- except China:

Protesters were seen marching from the Philippines to Kenya to Germany as the sun moved west but one country was notably absent from the events: no protests were authorized in China, which is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

“In Mumbai, children in oversize raincoats marched in the rain. In the Indian capital, New Delhi, where the air pollution is some of the worst in the world, dozens of protesters gathered outside a government building. ‘I want to breathe clean,’ they chanted,” The New York Times reported.

Climate change already wreaking havoc:

“The generational outcry comes as planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, even as their effects — including rising seas, intensifying storms, debilitating heat waves and droughts — can be felt more and more,” The Times reported. “Average global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius since the start of the industrial age, and the world as a whole remains far from meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate accord designed four years ago, to keep temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels.”

Meanwhile, in the US, President Trump has pulled the country out of the Paris accord.

Dana Fischer, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, told The Times that the global protest shows that children are “sophisticated enough to recognize” that leaders are not doing nearly enough to combat the threat of climate change.

“They are mobilized around an issue of consistent concern across countries and across geographic areas,” Fisher said. “It spans the developing-developed country divide. There aren’t that many issues that would unify in such a manner. And we all know the burden of climate change will fall on these kids’ shoulders when they are adults. They are acutely aware as well.”