Protesting climate change in New York, masses gather in global strike epicenter

World Today

Climate change activists float a banner for earth’s rivers during a climate strike rally, as part of a global youth-led day of global action, Friday Sept. 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Millions of activists in over 150 countries participated in a global climate strike. Their calling on their governments to follow through on their commitments made at the Paris Climate Agreement. The epicenter of the movement was in New York where the face of the movement, 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg spoke.

CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.

It is being called the biggest climate change protest in history. Around the world – people – mainly young people took to the streets to demand action.

In Australia, an estimated 300,000 people marched. In Berlin, organizers said around 270,000 people attended. London had a similarly large turnout.

In New York, the crowds were also large. In some ways, it was the epicenter of the global strike with many coming out to hear the 16-year-old face of the movement, Greta Thunberg, speak.

“I think the strike is so important for so many reasons,” said protester Ellie Barron. “We’re really striking for a better future but we also have to strike for the present. Right now, Hurricane Dorian devastated so many homes. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico so we really need to acknowledge the crisis already going on and fight for another better future.”

More than a million students in New York public schools were given the day off to participate with written permission from their parents.

“I hope the older generations will realize that us kids,” said protester Raymond Avila. “We aren’t just here to goof around and hang out. We’re actually trying to make a point. We aren’t just nobodies who do nothing.”

The ultimate goal of the global strikes is to get countries to follow through on commitments they made at the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Getting the U.S. to comply is particularly challenging under the current administration.

President Donald Trump has denied climate change exists, plans to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement and has rolled back regulations to cut emissions.

The author of “Finding the Gold in Green” said U.S. businesses have been quicker to change.

“They’re concerned, very concerned about not being relevant in the world and not being trustworthy,” said Winston. “They’re hearing from employees. They’re hearing from millennials and ‘Gen Z ‘ that if they’re not on the right side of something like climate and issues like inequality, that are interrelated that they’re just not going to be taken seriously as a business and no one is going to want to work for them.”

The global strikes were timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action summit that kicks off in New York on Monday. Global leaders will take to the stage to announce concrete plans to combat climate change. One notable world leader who will be absent is U.S. President Trump.