On a 90-degree day of September 2019, students and adults all over the world participated in a Global Strike 4 Climate. The climate strike was a week-long event ignited by the 16-year-old climate and environmental activist with Asperger’s Syndrome — Greta Thunberg. Thunberg, who sees her diagnosis as a gift, motivated people all over the world to march for climate justice. Her voice was heard in places as far as Africa and as close as Princeton, New Jersey. According to Thunberg, early numbers confirmed the presence of at least seven million people in Rome alone. Some of our own students from Rider University attended the climate strikes in both Princeton and New York City (NYC).
Upon arrival to the strike in Princeton, the expectation was that not many people would be there, since climate justice is not something that people jump up to support every day. The reality was there were so many people in attendance that it was impossible to ever see the end of the marching line once it begun.
“It was so inspiring to see so many people come together to fight such an important issue,” said sophomore environmental science major Kayley Tezbir.
Before the march took to the streets of Princeton, speakers of various backgrounds and ages, the youngest being 11 years old, came out to share words about how great it was to see such a large movement in the name of climate justice. The speakers also discussed some of the disasters awaiting the inhabitants of planet earth unless we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our depletion of natural resources, such as forestry and open water systems. The climate strike made its way to Princeton University, where spectating students and faculty joined in to be part of the movement adding to the rage of the voices that chanted throughout the striking crowd.
The presence of Thunberg, Jaden and Willow Smith prompted folks to participate in the climate strike in NYC. According to the New York Times, “a permit had been issued to the city of New York for 5,000 people and strike organizers reported that nearly 250,000 attended.”
Sophomore political science major Matthew Schantin said, “The whole trip to NYC really impacted [me].” He believes “just the size alone made a true statement on what people should value as a society.”
A short introduction of Thunberg on TED described that “in August 2018, Greta Thunberg started a school strike for climate outside the Swedish Parliament that has since spread all over the world and now involves over 100,000
schoolchildren.” Thunberg’s mentality is that she should not have to receive an education that she will not be able to utilize if the biosphere is destroyed. Since 2018, Thunberg and all of her followers have refused to go to school on Fridays until they see reform into reducing carbon dioxide emissions to a livable standard.
“It is crazy to think that this whole movement was started by a teenage girl,” said Tezbir.
Thunberg’s voice is being received by the people of the planet.
“Seeing how many people from different areas of the world were present gives me hope for our future generations,” said Tezbir. Through striking, Thunberg continuously works to have her message received by those in government, so that they hear that the people of this planet will not stand for increasing degradation of the planet. After the September Strike for Climate, Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. She is currently on a global tour and continues to Strike 4 Climate on Fridays as part of a growing movement that anyone can easily join.