Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – as it happened

Last modified: 01: 03 AM GMT+0

Millions of people from Sydney to Manila, Dhaka to London and New York are marching for urgent action on climate breakdown


An estimated quarter of a million people marched in New York to protest government inaction on the climate crisis.
An estimated quarter of a million people marched in New York to protest government inaction on the climate crisis. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

For the past 24 hours, the Guardian has been reporting in real time as millions of people joined in a worldwide, youth-led climate strike – with correspondents filing dispatches from the demonstrations across the globe.

We’re ending our liveblog here , but not our commitment to covering the climate crisis.

Read our roundup of the historic day of action:


A moment of appreciation for the doggos

These puppers want action on climate change right now. And maybe also a treat, please?

“For my extinct friends” reads this Mexico City dog’s sign.
“For my extinct friends” reads this Mexico City dog’s sign. Photograph: Marco Ugarte/Associated Press

This dog gets it. Climate strike in San Francisco

— Michael Kan (@Michael_Kan) September 20, 2019

I'm scared about our government's lack of meaningful climate action too, doggo! #ClimateStrike #Melbourne

— Danielle Jewson (@danismellelise) September 20, 2019
‘We do not have voice nor vote ... you do’ says a pup in Bogota, Colombia.
‘We do not have voice nor vote ... you do’ says a pup in Bogota, Colombia. Photograph: Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda/EPA

#ClimateStrike #Hobart #Tasmania
Clever doggo

— Leah Galvin 🍎🍒🥑🥦🥕🌽🌰🍓🧀 (@leah_galvin) September 20, 2019
Rico is barking mad about the climate crisis in London.
Rico is barking mad about the climate crisis in London. Photograph: Helen William/PA


Thousands of tech employees walked out of their workplaces to join the climate strike

Workers from Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter staged walkouts in what may be the largest coordinated worker action in the history of the tech industry.

At the demonstration in Seattle, more than 3,000 tech workers walked out of their workplaces on Friday and thousands more joined actions across the country, according to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group calling for Amazon to make more effort to address climate change.

Seattle tech workers are out here!! #TechClimateStrike

— Google Workers for Action on Climate (@GoogleWAC) September 20, 2019

Globally, more than 1,800 Amazon employees walked out across 25 cities and 14 countries on Friday to protest the company’s failure to take more action to address the climate crisis.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has made some efforts to address climate concerns, including an announcement on Thursday that the company expects to be carbon neutral by 2040 and a February announcement of a goal, known as Shipment Zero, to be carbon neutral on 50% of shipments by 2030.

But workers are asking for more: zero emissions by 2030, increasing the number of electric vehicles in its fleet, and refusing to set contracts with companies that damage the climate.

“Amazon still has a long way to go,” said Danilo Quilaton, product designer at Amazon in San Francisco. “What kind of climate leader can we be if we’re still partnering with fossil fuel companies, selling our AI technologies to extract oil faster?”

Here we go! We’re marching side-by-side with @TwtAction for #ClimateStrike.

— Square Workers for Climate Action (@SquareWorkers) September 20, 2019

Other tech companies were present at marches in San Francisco and beyond. Twitter workers walked out, marching alongside workers from tech payment firm Square in San Francisco. Facebook workers walked out of offices around the country, including employees who left the headquarters in San Jose.

Twitter, Amazon, and Google workers marching together for climate justice! 🤝🌍🤝

— Tech Workers Coalition (@techworkersco) September 20, 2019

More than 1,800 workers at Google signed a pledge supporting climate action from the company, including zero emissions by 2030, eliminating contracts with oil and gas companies, and promising zero harm to climate refugees. Hundreds walked out of Google offices across the US, including in New York City and at the headquarters in San Jose.

“As individuals, we may feel alone in facing climate change,” the Google petition said. “But if we act together – if we act now – we can build a better future.”


Amazon workers join the climate strike

Hundreds of Amazon workers left their desks Friday to join a thousands-strong climate strike march in Seattle.

Workers rallied in front of Amazon’s focal point – the Amazon Spheres, geodesic glass terrariums marking the company’s center of gravity in downtown Seattle – before marching to city hall. The mood was light, their march well ordered and rife with signage playing on Amazon slogans, including “Customer Obsessed = Climate Obsessed”. Those gathered joked that they were skipping a lunch at their desks to join the noontime protest.

The grim realities of the climate crisis were mentioned, particularly the challenges facing Amazon warehouse workers in southern California, but the 2,000-or-so workers and throngs of supporters were prepared to celebrate. They’d won, after all, Amazon’s first broad pledge to contain its carbon footprint.

“It was important to be part of the fight,” said Amazon worker Evan Pulgino.
“It was important to be part of the fight,” said Amazon worker Evan Pulgino. Photograph: Levi Pulkinnen/The Guardian

EVAN: Bobbing along with a stream of colleagues, Evan Pulgino was awestruck.

Pulgino, a software engineer from Pittsburgh who arrived in Seattle three years ago to work at Amazon, was a face in the crowd of several thousand Amazon and Google employees and their supporters. Badges colored to mark seniority, standard at Amazon, hung from lanyards and fobs.

Having set out from the Amazon Spheres in downtown Seattle, the tech crowd merged with throngs of high schoolers arriving on Fifth Avenue to join the march on Seattle’s City Hall. Pulgino described the disparate mass of humanity – Amazon’s orderly herd of 20s and 30-somethings mixing with exuberant teens – as “incredible”.

Pulgino, who has been active on climate issues since October, said he was cheered by the commitment made Thursday by Amazon to attain zero net carbon emissions by 2040. It was a start, he said, and a heartening one. Pulgino objected to Amazon’s continued financial support for climate change-denying thinktanks and politicians, and to Amazon Web Services’ contracts with fossil fuel companies.

“It was important to be part of the fight,” said Pulgino, carrying a sign that read “Stop funding climate denial, start leading for zero emissions”.

“Tech drives so much change,” the 38-year-old continued. “If Amazon leads the way, other companies will follow.”

Let's raise the bar, not the temperature! #ClimateStrike #AMZNClimate

— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) September 20, 2019

ROSHNI: Roshni Naidu, a five-year Amazon veteran, expected something out of Finding Nemo when last year she traveled to Australia to take in the Great Barrier Reef. Naidu, 28, was shocked to find a graying, vacant space.

“It was nothing at all like what I expected,” said Naidu, a senior technical product manager.

Returning to Seattle shaken by witnessing the degradation of the planet, Naidu got to work at her work. She began agitating with other Amazon employees for the company to get it right on climate change.

Amazon, she said, can lead on climate. She described herself as “cautiously celebratory” after company leaders announced a suite of climate change-related reforms aimed at eliminating Amazon’s carbon footprint by 2040.

“It’s a sign that collective action works,” Naidu said. Friday’s march, she added, “puts even more pressure on Amazon to do more.”

It’s great, she said, to be able to say she’s “saving the world”.

Nick Andrews, a program manager at Amazon, was a chant leader for the climate strike in Seattle.
Nick Andrews, a program manager at Amazon, was a chant leader for the climate strike in Seattle. Photograph: Levi Pulkinnen/The Guardian

NICK: Milling among his climate activist colleagues, Nick Andrews, a program manager now in his sixth year at Amazon, was ready to scream. Which, as a chant leader, was his job for the afternoon.

Andrews, 32, had been active for months pushing Amazon to reduce its climate footprint and cut ties to the fossil fuel industry. Like several of his colleagues, he struck a tone more disappointed than angry. Amazon workers tend to believe their company can do anything, including save the planet.

At the outset, Andrews said, pushing the sometimes autocratic company seemed like it would be nerve-racking work. It didn’t turn out that way.

“Everyone came in with trepidation,” Andrews said. “But it’s really received a company-wide embrace.”

It helps, he said, that he and other Amazonians turn out – unsurprisingly to those who’ve watched the company come to dominate the retail economy and cloud computing – to be “very good organizers”.

He celebrated on Thursday when Amazon leaders announced a series of steps designed to eliminate Amazon’s net carbon footprint. He looks forward to Amazon doing more, though.

“We pride ourselves on being a bar-pushing company,” Andrews said. “This is a good start, but I think we can do better.”


The Guardian has partnered with Friends of the Earth to highlight the climate crisis and raise funds for the charity, which is doing so much to address the damage that has been done and continues to be done to the planet.

Scenes from Richmond, California – a town under Chevron’s shadow

Richmond protesters: “We’re here to fight.”
Richmond protesters: “We’re here to fight.” Illustration: Susie Cagle/The Guardian

The main climate strike action in the Bay Area today was in the center of San Francisco, always a magnet for regional progressive activism. But across the bay, Richmond, population 110,000, more than held its own.

The small crowd at the city’s civic center peaked at about 100 before a short youth-led march. Speakers took turns addressing the group from atop a park bench, rallying with call-and-response chants and songs, and impromptu speeches about factory farming, a Green New Deal and geoengineering. But while this may have been a small branch of a global day of action, the main thrust here was local issues, as residents shared updates on local organizing efforts to stop the climate pollution happening in their own town.

“Richmond stong, coal is wrong”
“Richmond stong, coal is wrong” Illustration: Susie Cagle/The Guardian

Richmond is actually younger than the 117-year-old, 2,900 acre Chevron oil refinery that occupies much of the city’s scenic bayside hillscape, and the fossil fuel giant has long exerted outsized influence not just over the city’s environment, but also its politics. Richmond also feels the impact of over a million tons of coal and petroleum byproducts exported from its bayside terminal each year – the city’s asthma rates are far above those of other Bay Area communities.

“Stoms surge and fires burn, but do you hear the call?”
“Stoms surge and fires burn, but do you hear the call?” Photograph: Susie Cagle/The Guardian

Urgency on the global climate crisis won the day worldwide, but in Richmond and other front-line cities, the impacts of the fossil fuel industry and issues of environmental justice feel even more immediately dire.


‘It is like they are burning our soul’: Brazil’s indigenous people call for international help

Tereza Arapiun, an indigenous leader from Pará state attends the climate strike demonstration in Rio de Janeiro.
Tereza Arapiun, an indigenous leader from Pará state attends the climate strike demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Dom Phillips/The Guardian

At the third Rio de Janeiro demonstration of the day, Tereza Arapiun, a chief from the Arapiun tribe from the Amazon state of Pará, called for international help for Brazil’s indigenous people. “We are surrounded by destruction, loggers and mining,” she said. “We need help.”

Amazon deforestation, fires and land invasions worsened under Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, she said. “He encourages it. Before, there was protection. He destroyed it.”

Arapiun welled up as she told how a friend described hearing the screams of dying animals as fires raged recently near Alter do Chão, a renowned beauty spot in the same state. “It is very painful. It is like they are burning our soul,” she said. “We need help – and help won’t come from Brazil.”


Colombian demonstrators demand a world “without plastic and without war”

People take part in a Global Climate Strike rally in Bogotá, Colombia.
People take part in a Global Climate Strike rally in Bogotá, Colombia. Photograph: Luisa González/Reuters

Demonstrators have begun to gather at parks and squares across Colombia now. Here in Bogotá – the capital – the historic Plaza de Bolívar in front of the congress building is slowly drawing crowds despite the rain.

“Colombia, our land,” one group of students chanted as they arrived. “Without plastic and without war!”

Near the statue of the country’s independence hero Simón Bolívar, demonstrators banged drums and burnt incense, waving signs that read “Rebel or burn out”.

“When the problem is as urgent as climate change, it’s only by coming together that we can make a difference,” said Alejandra Moreno, a student from Bogotá.

In Bogotá, a dog wears a placard reading, “We do not have voice nor vote... You do.”
In Bogotá, a dog wears a placard reading, “We do not have voice nor vote... You do.” Photograph: Luisa González/Reuters

Unlike many similar events around the world, this one was not preceded by a major strike and schools were open as normal. This could be because events got little publicity in local media. The two main dailies, El Espectador and El Tiempo, ran agency-written stories online on worldwide strikes that did not once mention Colombia.

Instead, the mantle to promote today’s march was picked up by an opposition political party, Colombia Humana, and local environmental activists. Both used social media extensively.

“Why in London are people so willing to move to pressure their government and the world for drastic measures to attack the climate crisis and not in Colombia, if the problem is the same?” the senator Gustavo Petro – the leader of Colombia Humana and a former presidential candidate – tweeted this morning. “Because of something called asymmetrical information: in Colombia the danger is ignored.”

Colombia has made efforts to position itself as a regional leader on environmental issues, recently hosting a summit in its Amazonian city Leticia, where Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru agreed on measures to tackle the nearby raging rainforest fires.

However, local activists say it is just window-dressing given that Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries for environmentalists. Twenty-four environmental activists were murdered here in 2018, second only to the Philippines, according to the watchdog Global Witness.

“Colombia is living through constant threats of damage to ecosystems and deforestation, and our cities are heating up,” said Isabel Cristina Zuleta, an environmental activist with the Rios Vivos movement, who has received many death threats for her work. She was attending a march in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city.

“In Colombia, to protest and to march is to put yourself at risk,” Zuleta said. “That’s why today it is so important to see people in the streets.”


Protesters in Miami Beach wrap it up, head to “End of the World” after party

Students outside of Miami Beach City Hall.
Students protest outside city hall in Miami Beach. Photograph: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The climate strike has wrapped up in Miami Beach after a “historic” day that saw thousands of schoolchildren, college students and workers gather at two events at city hall. But organizers say this is just the start of something much bigger.

“You saw how many people were here, it was incredible,” said youth climate activist John Paul Mejia, who spoke at the morning school strike and evening rally for those who couldn’t take time off during the day.

“Now we need to keep the conversation going, to build on this historic day and get things done.”

The Miami protestors were heading for an after-strike party with live music at a bar in nearby Overtown arranged by 350southflorida, an environmental group.

The relaxation will be short, however. Next week’s planned protest activities include a sit-in at Miami Beach’s sustainability committee meeting and a strike in downtown Miami at Chase Bank, which 350southflorida says is the world’s biggest funder of fossil fuels.

The “week of action” wraps up with an End of the World party on the second Global Climate Strike day next Friday.


Young activists in Brazil: less CO2, more vida

Thalita Alves, 20, left, and Gabriela Cunha, 18, from Federal Fluminense University demonstrate Friday on the steps of the state legislature in Rio de Janeiro.
Thalita Alves, 20, left, and Gabriela Cunha, 18, from Federal Fluminense University demonstrate Friday on the steps of the state legislature in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Dom Phillips/The Guardian

There were small demonstrations across Brazil on Friday. In the morning, dozens of school and university students occupied the steps of Rio de Janeiro’s state legislature in hot sun. They sang, waved placards and called for the removal of business-friendly environment minister Ricardo Salles.

Striking high school student Maria Hardman, 15, was angry over far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s failure to protect the Amazon. “He does not value the environment,” she said. “Bolsonaro is an imbecile. He does not represent me.”

Brazilians have yet to grasp the scale of the climate emergency, said Mariana Império, 30, a masters student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Thalita Alves, 20, a trainee teacher at the Federal Fluminense University, said people began waking up when fires in the Bolivian Amazon caused São Paulo skies to darken. “Brazilians who voted for Bolsonaro … faithfully believe what he says,” she said. Later another demonstration marched from Ibama, the environmental agency, to the city centre.

Demonstrators hold a “Global strike for climate” banner during a protest on climate change in São Paulo, Brazil.
Demonstrators hold a “Global strike for climate” banner during a protest on climate change in São Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: André Penner/Associated Press

High school students formed a human mosaic reading: “Save the Amazon” in Recife and held up placards with data on Amazon fires in Salvador. Students marched in the town of Novo Friburgo and in the capital Brasília, an SOS Amazon banner was hung on the walls of the environment ministry.

In the Amazon city of Belém, hundreds gathered beside the Marajó Bay. “Coming from the Amazon, I feel it’s a duty to fight,” said Lidia Seabra, 24, studying a masters in biology at the Federal University of Pará. “We are united here to defend the Amazon,” said engineering student Devyison de Jesus, 21.

In São Paulo, a few thousand blocked Paulista Avenue after cheering speeches from children such as Cora Ramos, 10, who held up a placard she had made that read “there is no planet B”. “If we destroy this one, there won’t be another,” she said.

Brazilian activists were also present at marches abroad. Alessandra Munduruku, an indigenous activist from the Munduruku tribe of Pará state, made a short, powerful speech to an enormous crowd in Berlin. “My people are grateful to have good people fighting and defending the Amazon,” she said through a translator to deafening cheers.

“I saw many children, many young people, parents, old people, I thought that demonstration was very beautiful,” she told the Guardian. “I had goosebumps.”


Mexico City protestors to AMLO: “We want a future, not hydrocarbons!”

A woman with a placard that reads in Spanish “This is not an ice cream it is your home, take care of it.”
A woman with a placard that reads in Spanish “This is not an ice cream it is your home, take care of it.” Photograph: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Climate protests started early outside the National Palace in central Mexico City, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador usually holds a daily press conference. The president – commonly called AMLO – was instead in the state of Yuctán on Friday and didn’t speak of the climate issue. But he boasted, “The fall in [Mexican] petroleum production has stopped and we’re starting to produce more petroleum. ... We’re now producing more petrol in Mexico’s refineries.”

AMLO has bet big on boosting Mexico’s petroleum output and promised to lower the price of gasoline. He’s also pushed ahead with plans to build an $8bn refinery in the state of Tabasco – even starting construction prior to completing the environmental permits. AMLO also cancelled an electricity auction, which would have allowed more renewable energy into the market, and the Federal Electricity Commission (CRE) has announced plans to instead burn more coal.

“There a campaign that renewables are cheaper and it’s a lie,” CFE director Manuel Bartlett said earlier this year.

The government’s focus on fossil fuels has put in question the country’s commitment to generate 35% of its energy with renewables by 2024, according to climate change analysts.

Marchers in Mexico City targeted AMLO, chanting, “We want a future, not hydrocarbons!”


Greta Thunberg: “Change is coming whether they like it or not.”

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives to the podium to speak as she takes part during the Climate Strike in New York.
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives at the podium to speak as she takes part during the Climate Strike in New York. Photograph: Eduardo Muñoz/AP

The crowd in Battery Park roared in anticipation of Greta Thunberg, who was introduced by Alexandria Villaseñor, Thunberg’s NYC equivalent who her spends her Fridays protesting outside the UN headquarters in New York City.

“Greta! Greta! Greta!” the crowd chanted as Thunberg got on the stage.

The 16-year-old started her speech off by marking the number of people who participated in the strike around the world. In New York City, 250,000 people marched. Worldwide, more than 4m demonstrated.

Thunberg’s directed her speech to the hundreds of students in the crowd, though she acknowledged that adults also skipped worked to strike.

“We will do everything in our power to stop this crisis from getting worse, even if it means skipping school or work, because this is more important,” Thunberg said. “Why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us?”

Thunberg had to pause her speech twice to point out that people in the crowd needed medical attention. Many people had been in the sun all afternoon waiting for Thunberg to speak. The crowd patiently waited for Thunberg to start speaking again, each time cheering when she continued.

Thunberg elicited laughter when she described all the politicians she had met who asked for selfies and “tell us they really, really admire what we do” yet have done nothing to address the climate crisis. “We demand a safe future. Is that really to much to ask?”

“No!” the crowd shouted back.

At the end of her speech, Thunberg emphasized that the strikes around the world are just the start of change.

“If you belong to that small group of people who feel threatened by us, we have some very bad news for you, because this is only the beginning,” Thunberg said. “Change is coming whether they like it or not.”

Students in the crowd said they felt moved seeing Thunberg speak in person.

“I started crying. I just found it powerful and empowering,” said Juliana Rubiano, 16. “She represents a lot of people, and that’s us, that’s the youth.”


Californians are no strangers to the climate crisis fight – and now they’re taking on the federal government

Young activists and their supporters hold signs as they march Friday during a Global Climate Strike demonstration in San Francisco.
Young activists and their supporters hold signs as they march Friday during a Global Climate Strike demonstration in San Francisco. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California is not a place that requires convincing that the climate is changing. The people here don’t even need to see the science — they’re feeling the impacts firsthand, as the state teeters between an eroding coastline and growing wildland fires.

Perhaps because of its many vulnerabilities, California has taken arguably the strongest stance of any US state in fighting the climate crisis, at times also fighting with the federal government in the process. When the Trump administration moved to undo California’s strict vehicle emissions standards this month, the state vowed to fight. Governor Gavin Newsom hit back with, of course, a tweet: “We will prevail. See you in court.”

Earlier this week, the University of California pledged to divest over $80bn in endowment and pension funds from fossil fuel companies, citing the “financial risk” posed by the industry, compared to renewable energy. Climate advocates called it the biggest single commitment by any university, and perhaps the beginning of a new divesting trend.

California cities, including Berkeley and San Jose, are leading the country with a wave of local laws to phase out natural gas hook-ups in new construction, despite strong and well-funded opposition from the gas industry. Natural gas is the greatest source of carbon emissions from buildings, while fully electrifying homes and businesses could allow them to run on clean, renewable energy instead.

California’s municipalities have also taken direct aim at the industry responsible for so much of the climate crisis. Eight cities and counties in the state have filed civil lawsuits against fossil fuel companies, alleging public nuisance and in some cases negligence. The suits seek billions of dollars in damages to help mitigate climate impacts.


Young activists in San Francisco, California.
Young activists in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Maanvi Singh, here — taking up the Guardian’s live climate strike coverage from the West Coast.

Coming up, West Coast environment correspondent Susie Cagle will be sharing sketches and scenes from the demonstration in Richmond, California, across the bay from San Francisco. A Chevron refinery older than the town itself looms over it, and the area is home to some of the boldest climate-minded activism in California.

I'm heading to cover the climate strike in Richmond today. The crowd will be smaller than in SF or Berkeley, but Richmond has been home to some of the most exciting and effective environmental organizing for 15+ years now, all in the shadow of a 100-year-old Chevron refinery.

— Susie Cagle (@susie_c) September 20, 2019

Technology reporter Kari Paul will be following up on climate walkouts at Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Google.

And Los Angeles correspondent Sam Levin will bring us dispatches from the protests in southern California.


Mexico City protests: thousands take to the streets

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Mexico City to join the global climate strike this afternoon.

“Se ve, se siente, la tierra está caliente,” the crowds shouted as they processed down the city’s main avenue, Reforma towards its presidential palace. “You see it, you feel it. The earth is getting hotter.”

Protesters - many of them school children and teenagers - carried homemade banners reading: “There’s no money in a dead earth” and “Action now!” One placard urged demonstrators to make love, not CO2.

People march along Reforma Avenue with signs during a climate protest in Mexico City
People march along Reforma Avenue with signs during a climate protest in Mexico City Photograph: Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

There were reports of other demonstrations, big and small, across Mexico in cities including Acapulco, Irapuato, Guadalajara and Tijuana. Unlike in Brazil, where far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has ignored today’s movement, the protests received the blessing of the Mexican government which tweeted its support.

In a Twitter video Victor Toledo, Mexico’s environment secretary, urged the country to reflect on the environment “insurgency” taking place around the world and to take action where possible.

People hold a flag as they take part in a Global Climate Strike rally in Mexico City
People hold a flag as they take part in a Global Climate Strike rally in Mexico City Photograph: Carlos Jasso/Reuters

‘There is no Planet B’

Best friends Amaya Mejia, 10, and Scarlett Harrison, 11, skipped school together to join the Miami Beach youth climate strike, after staying up late the night before to craft their placards. Amaya opted for a globe with the simple message: “There is no Planet B”.

“You need to listen to us, it’s the only planet we’ve got and we need to protect it,” said Amaya, who attends the Gulliver private school in Coral Gables.

Messages on banners ranged from simple and effective like Amaya’s, to the deeply political and often comical. “The government can regulate my uterus but not single-use plastics?” read one.

Best friends Amaya Mejia, 10, and Scarlett Harrison, 11, stayed up late last night to make their placards for the Miami Beach #schoolstrike4climate. @GuardianUS #ClimateStrike

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019

Another student held aloft a sign informing the crowd: “I’m not showing up for school because adults aren’t showing up for children,” while another said: “You’ll die of old age, I’ll die of climate change.”

More locally-themed placards, referencing the threat of sea level rise to Miami Beach, a hugely popular tourism destination, included one that read: “Take a stand before our city is all sand.”

My favorite, however, was perhaps the most understated message of the day. “I’m very upset,” it read.

Covering Climate Now

Covering the climate crisis is absolutely core to the Guardian’s editorial mission.

And all this week, we have been a lead partner in Covering Climate Now, an initiative founded earlier this year with the Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation.

Covering Climate Now
Covering Climate Now Photograph: Covering Climate Now/The Guardian

This has led to more than 250 newsrooms representing 32 countries – with a combined monthly reach of more than a billion people – signing on to amplify and share content on climate change.

There has been a burst of coverage this week on the Guardian and beyond ahead of the UN climate summit next week on Monday 23 September.

Check out some of our pieces this week including:

Thousands of people are striking in Boston, Massachusetts

Organizers expected some 10,000 people to rally at City Hall Plaza for the Boston Climate Strike organized by youth climate activists.

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu and former Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy were among scheduled speakers, according to NBC10 Boston.

Students chant and carry signs on the Boston City Hall Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts.
Students chant and carry signs on the Boston City Hall Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph: Cj Gunther/EPA


Miami striker: ‘Does it matter if we’re under 15 feet of water or 50 feet?’

Students cheer during a protest organized by the US Youth Climate Strike outside of Miami Beach City Hall, Miami Beach, Florida
Students cheer during a protest organized by the US Youth Climate Strike outside of Miami Beach City Hall, Miami Beach, Florida Photograph: Lynne Sladky/AP

Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, received a warmer reception than any politician might have expected when he emerged to address the hundreds of student climate campaigners making a racket right outside his office window.

Perhaps it’s the $500m dollars his city is investing over the next five years to combat the effects of sea level rise, which already leaves neighborhoods under water during higher than usual tides. Scientists predict up to a three feet sea level rise by 2050.

Understated sign of the day award at Miami Beach #ClimateStrike won hands down by this dude @GuardianUS #schoolstrike4climate

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019

Gelber pointed out the strides already taken to improve things on this island city barely seven by one miles in size: an aggressive program of elevating roads and laying larger capacity drainage pipes, along with investing in modern pump equipment and technology to faster shift the rising flood waters. It’s little wonder the environmentally-conscious city’s slogan is Rising Above.

And today the Miami Herald reported on what could become the city’s most ambitious project yet, a proposal to turn the city-owned golf course into a 115-acre wetland park, which the newspaper says is certain to test the boundaries of what the public will accept in the name of resilience.

“Change is never easy,” Miami Beach commissioner Ricky Arriola said. “If we’re truly serious about dealing with climate change then everything is on the table, including the golf course. If we’re not willing to even talk about it then we’re just paying lip service.”

Gabriella Marchesani, 17, organizer of the Miami Beach youth climate strike, praises the city’s efforts but says more needs to be done to address the causes of the climate crisis as well as dealing with its effects.

“Miami Beach has spent a lot of money on adaptation, it can be the leading city and we hope other cities in Florida will follow,” she said. “But this cannot be done slowly, and we need climate policy. Does it matter if we’re under 15 feet of water or 50 feet?”

Nurse Angel Allen and her family drove more than 100 miles from Port St Lucie to join the Miami Beach #ClimateStrike Malik, 15, says he just wants there to be a world to visit in the future #schoolstrike4climate @GuardianUS

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019


Thousands converge on Battery Park, New York

Most New York strikers have now made it down to Battery Park where a stage has been set up close to the water. Hundreds of people are packed around the stage, Greta is slated to speak, and many more are camped out sitting on the grass in the park.

Battery Park is packed with people #ClimateStrike

— Lauren Aratani (@LaurenAratani) September 20, 2019

Young speakers took the stage giving personal testimonies of how the climate crisis is affecting them, denouncing politicians on both sides, saying just believing the facts isn’t enough without action.

When Jaden Smith took the stage, people started running the stage. In between two songs he reminded the crowd: “We gotta show people we care about this.”

Student activists gather in Battery Park in lower Manhattan in New York
Student activists gather in Battery Park in lower Manhattan in New York Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters


Climate meme power

People keep stopping Lauren Drabenstott, an NYU student, for pictures of her double-sided poster. “I just felt like it’s a good way to get across the younger generation.” #ClimateStrike

— Lauren Aratani (@LaurenAratani) September 20, 2019

Dorian victims convinced of link to climate change

Reporting from the hurricane-hit Bahamas last week, I met David Dean, a sous chef at one of its holiday resorts. “My wife and kids had me as ‘dead’ on Facebook because they couldn’t find me,” he said. “When I called them, there was a lot of crying.”

Like many in these Caribbean islands, Dean is convinced that the climate crisis in making hurricanes such as Dorian more likely and more intense. “It was very hot,” the 38-year-old said. “That’s why the hurricane was coming to us. Heat brings the hurricane and makes it worse.”

Haitian Burris Filburt, right, and another man stand on the extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in The Mudd, Great Abaco, Bahamas, September 5, 2019.
Haitian Burris Filburt, right, and another man stand on the extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in The Mudd, Great Abaco, Bahamas, September 5, 2019. Photograph: Gonzalo Gaudenzi/AP

Some 52 people are confirmed dead in the Bahamas, a figure expected to rise, and more than 1,300 are still missing. The scale of destruction was astonishing, as if a giant with a child’s temperament had run amok, flipping over cars and buses like toys. As so often, the underclass suffers the most.

The science is complex but this Guardian article explains how global heating made Dorian bigger, wetter and deadlier.

Many in the Bahamas are determined to stay the course, not least because tourism is so crucial to the economy. The owners of the hard hit Treasure Cay beach, marine and golf resort declared their intention to rebuild. But some residents also expressed concern that such efforts could be undone by the next hurricane, and the one after that.

For now the Bahamas is dealing with scars, mental and physical. Dean told me: “Now, if I feel a little rain, it might be drive me crazy. I’m traumatised. I don’t ever want to go through that again.”

This video is great at capturing some of the scale of the New York action.

NYCs massive #ClimateStrike march has begun, from Foley Sq down Centre St to Chambers St across to Broadway... and down to the Battery! Thank you @ClimateCrisis and everyone else marching!

— Gale A. Brewer (@galeabrewer) September 20, 2019

Which countries contribute most to the climate crisis? How much is the US to blame?

China produces the most heat-trapping pollution, followed by the US, the European Union, India and Russia. But historically, the US has contributed more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than any other nation.

The US also has high emissions per capita, compared to other developed countries. And Americans buy products made in China, therefore supporting China’s carbon footprint.

In 2017 China produced 13 times more C02 than it did in 1960
Emissions of CO2 from major countries

What has happened to the US Environmental Protection Agency with climate change?

The EPA has begun efforts to eliminate climate rules for power plants, cars and the methane leaked from oil and gas facilities.

Has the US already pulled out of the Paris accord? What if Democrats win next election?

The US has not yet exited the international accord, in which every other nation on earth agreed to voluntarily begin to curb emissions. The deal was meant to prevent global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

Technically, the US cannot leave the agreement until the day after the November 2020 election, when Trump will still be president regardless of the outcome.

A Democrat president could rejoin the deal.


Is Donald Trump making climate change worse with his rollbacks?

The US is falling far short of its commitments to curb heat-trapping pollution, in part because Trump has gutted efforts made by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The country is on track to cut emissions 13% to 16% below 2005 levels by 2020, according to the analysis firm Rhodium Group. That’s short of the 17% reduction the US promised in the Copenhagen Accord. “Looking ahead to 2025, the US is on track to achieve reductions anywhere from 12% to 19% below 2005 levels absent major policy changes—a far cry from its Paris Agreement pledge to reduce emissions 26% to 28%,” Rhodium Group explains.

The US, however, represents 15% of world emissions.

Is Donald Trump a climate change denier? What is his record?

Before becoming president, Trump called climate change a Chinese hoax. In an interview with Piers Morgan, he deflected questions about how his policies promote continued climate-change causing emissions. He said the US has “the cleanest climates” and “China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water.”

Trump’s White House has downplayed the dangers of the climate crisis, including disagreeing with a federal report showing it threatens the US economy. Many of the president’s appointees have denied climate change, and government scientists say their work on the crisis has been silenced.

It is, of course, worth keeping in mind today the specific demands that climate groups have for meaningful action. The Youth Climate Strike Coalition in the US, has issued a set of policy demands which includes:

  • Transform our economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 and phase out all fossil fuel extraction through a just and equitable transition, creating millions of good jobs
  • A halt to all leasing and permitting for fossil fuel extraction, processing and infrastructure projects immediately
  • Respect of Indigenous Land and Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
  • Protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans including a halt to all deforestation by 2030
  • Investment in farmers and regenerative agriculture and an end to subsidies for industrial agriculture

Downtown New York City is packed with sign-bearing people of all ages, though the crowd noticeably skews young. Students from all over NYC have come to the march. Many young children are accompanied by their parents while middle and high school students are here with their friends. Almost all groups have posters in hand.

On the way down to the march, I caught up with students from Professional Performing Arts School, who caught the subway to attend the strike together. They met up at school and decided to go to the march in a group.

“I just want the world to exist the way I knew it was growing up,” said Nyla Robothan, a 15-year-old student at the school, on why she’s striking.

Caught up with students from Professional Performing Arts School in New York who were taking the subway en route to the march. “I just want the world to exist the way I knew when I was growing up,” Nyla, a student, told me. #ClimateStrike

— Lauren Aratani (@LaurenAratani) September 20, 2019

Many say this isn’t their first march, having participating in other climate marches or the March For Our Lives protest in 2018. They say that they feel like their future feels uncertain because of the climate crisis, yet no one is listening to their generation.

“Our planet is dying, and no one’s going to be doing anything except for us right now,” said Arlene Guevara, 17, a student at Beacon High School in Manhattan.

Arlene Guevara and Melanie Garcia, two students from Beacon High School. “Our planet is dying, and no one’s going to be doing anything except for us right now,” Arlene told me.

— Lauren Aratani (@LaurenAratani) September 20, 2019

The march is slowly making its way down to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, where speakers, including Greta Thunberg, are slated to speak in the afternoon.

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, US, January 29, 2018.
Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, US, January 29, 2018. Photograph: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

We are expecting hundreds of Amazon workers to strike later in their HQ city of Seattle, Washington.

Levi Pulkkinen is there to report on this for us and ahead of the strikes there, sent us this explainer of how some of the giant firm’s workers are taking action and Thursday’s move by Jeff Bezos pledging to improve Amazon’s environmental impact:

After months agitating for climate accountability from their employer, workers celebrated Thursday as the Seattle-based retail and cloud computing giant pledged to zero out carbon emissions by 2040.

The announcement from CEO Jeff Bezos came as about 1,500 Amazon workers prepared to walkout Friday as part of the global strike for climate change. The disruption would mark the first time white-collar Amazon workers have walked off the job.

Asserting that Bezos’ pledge “proves that collective action and employee pressure works,” organizers of the stoppage reiterated demands that Amazon Web Services stop doing business with fossil fuel companies, and that the company cut ties with lobbyists, politicians and researchers hostile to climate science.

Those calls were left unaddressed by the company, which did announce plans to acquire 100,000 electric delivery vans manufactured by an Amazon-funded company and an $100m commitment to an environmental restoration fund managed by The Nature Conservancy. In a statement, Bezos described the initiatives as evidencing a shift within Amazon.

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” Bezos said. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.”

Amazon, making good on a promise offered earlier in the year, also for the first time released an accounting of its carbon footprint. The assessment, audited by Paris-based certification agency Bureau Veritas, showed Amazon’s direct and indirect CO2 emissions amounted to 44.4 million metric tons in 2018, a year that saw 37.1 billion metric tons of the greenhouse gas released globally.

In Seattle, students will march from Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill to City Hall starting at noon.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the marchers will hold a youth-led rally for climate justice at City Hall.

— KOMO News (@komonews) September 20, 2019

The Guardian’s Latin American correspondent Tom Phillips has spotted a striking banner in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"What's the point in studying for a non-existent future?" #ClimateStrike protesters in Guadalajara, Mexico today pic via @LibiaServin

— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) September 20, 2019

Here’s some footage from climate strikes around the world today:

Miami student Greta Rodriguez feels exactly the same way as the famous teenage climate activist who shares her first name, and had a similar message as she joined dozens of classmates to protest in Miami Beach: We’ve just had enough.

The 15-year-old was among a party of 50 students from the Cushman private school in Key Biscayne who wanted to make their voices heard in this low-lying coastal city that is recognized as ground zero for sea level rise.

“We’ve had enough of big business and their trash, burning fossil fuels, depleting the earth,” she said. “It has to change.”

Chaperoned by biology teacher Jen Russell, the Cushman kids were among the loudest at the Miami Beach strike. “They wanted to be here and the student government association organized the whole thing,” Russell said.

“It was important to them. We can talk to them as adults but it’s the children who have the voice, it’s their future.”

Delighted to meet these smart young ladies from @CushmanSchool at Miami Beach #schoolstrike4climate today. About 50 Cushman students attended, says biology teacher Jen Russell #ClimateStrike @GuardianUS

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019

The Miami Beach strike drew hundreds of students from schools, colleges and universities across South Florida. A similar, simultaneous event outside the Broward school district headquarters in Fort Lauderdale attracted another large crowd.

While private schools such as Cushman turned up with numbers, local public school leaders proved less amenable to students walking out of classes, however. Elijah Ruby, 17, a senior at South Broward high school, was banned from his prom for handing out flyers for the Fort Lauderdale event, according to the Miami Herald, and both the Broward and Miami-Dade school districts announced that absences for the strike would be recorded as unexcused.

At the New York event are Zariah, age seven, and Lori Sapphire, who says: “We’re here to save the planet. So no packaging. It’s an easy solution. Focus on solar energy. No more cars burning oil. Stop taking every mineral from the earth. Go back to the simple ways.

“There’s enough for everyone. Stop burning the forests because we want to eat meat and soybeans. Use hemp for everything. It almost a joke that everything were doing is being so selfishly and unconsciously. It like we’re not from the planet, otherwise we’d care.”

Zariah, age 7, and Lori Sapphire
Zariah, age 7, and Lori Sapphire Photograph: Ed Helmore/Guardian US

The crowds in New York are massive but everyone is slowly making their way down to Battery Park.

Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a demonstration as part of the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York.
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a demonstration as part of the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Crowds of children skipped school to join a global strike against climate change, heeding the rallying cry of teen activist Greta Thunberg and demanding adults act to stop environmental disaster. It was expected to be the biggest protest ever against the threat posed to the planet by climate change.
Crowds of children skipped school to join a global strike against climate change, heeding the rallying cry of teen activist Greta Thunberg and demanding adults act to stop environmental disaster. It was expected to be the biggest protest ever against the threat posed to the planet by climate change. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images


Earlier at the breakfast meeting for indigenous people from the Amazon and Indonesia, 19 year old Artemisa Barbosa Ribeiro, a climate activist known as Artemisa Xakriabá, told the Guardian she is thankful for all the young people who are joining the movement.

“ I can see a future where we can make a difference but for that we must be listened to and respected,” she said, describing how her people, the Xakriabá peoples, a group of approximately 12 thousand people who live on the left bank of the São Francisco River, in the municipality of São João das Missões, in the state of Minas Gerais, have watched as mining companies have denied them access to the river and its water.

“The scarcity of water in the territory is noticeable” she says. “ We need the river and the water for our living and for our spiritual health, our connection to the earth. So access to the river is a big issue for us.”

Ribeiro, who was recently in Washington DC to demand action from members of the US congress alongside Greta Thunberg, said she felt that Jaire Bolsnaro’s government have a plan for all indigenous people.

“I believe they want to assassinate us,” she said frankly. “It’s got much worse in the last eight months. We need support from outside the country because from the inside we have no support.

“The main thing you can do in the west to help is to stop importing hard wood because that is causing deforestation and exploitation. That is the best way you can help,” Ribeiro added.

Brazilian Amazonian Indigenous leader Artemisa Xakriaba
Brazilian Amazonian Indigenous leader Artemisa Xakriaba Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

Here is a message from Greta Thunberg, who will be making a speech at the New York event later in Battery Park:

There are many, many hundreds of protesters in DC. Blocks and blocks of a roughly 6-lane street filled and more coming and marching toward the US Capitol. I can’t see the end.

#climatestrikedc #globalclimatestrike #fridaysforfuture

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

#ClimateStrikedc #globalclimatestrike

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

“This is the fight for our future” #dcclimatestrike #GlobalClimateStrike

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

#globalclimatestrike hundreds behind them not pictured #dcclimatestrike

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

“I speak for the trees. They said f**k you.” #climatestrike #GlobalClimateStrike #dcclimatestrike

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

“Whose plant? Our planet” #ClimateStrike #GlobalClimateStrike #dcclimatestrike

— Emily Holden (@emilyhholden) September 20, 2019

This gives you a sense of how big the gathering in New York is - so many people want to participate.

#ClimateStrike protest is so big in Lower Manhattan that the #NYPD had to shut down all of the streets in a section of Lower Manhattan, including the exit from the Brooklyn Bridge. @PIX11News @NYPDnews

— James Ford (@jamesfordtv) September 20, 2019

Delaney Reynolds has addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the climate crisis. She has appeared in a prime time National Geographic special, written books, won awards, launched a non-profit battling sea rise, shared a stage with Al Gore and changed laws in almost a decade as an environmental activist and entrepreneur.

She is also still only 20.

“The youth voice is extremely powerful,” says Reynolds, a speaker at this morning’s youth climate strike in Miami Beach.

“I hope our elected leaders realise that current young voters and soon-to-be voters care passionately about this issue and very much want to see something done about it.”

Reynolds is not afraid to play hardball to tackle the climate emergency. She is the lead plaintiff of eight young Floridians currently suing their state and its governor for “violating their fundamental rights to a stable climate system” through their reliance on fossil fuels.

But she knows collaboration can work just as well as confrontation. As a teenager she was instrumental in getting the city of South Miami to adopt Florida’s first law requiring solar panels on newly-built homes.

“We also spoke at a Miami-Dade budget hearing and the same day after hearing the children speak the county created the post of chief resilience officer,” she said.

“The young generation is starting to realise our voice matters. Our leaders are going to have to pay attention if a bunch of kids stop going to school and start standing on their steps at city hall. They may not have a vote but they do have a voice.”

Climate protestors in Miami Beach not mincing their words. Another sign I just saw says simply: "It's fucking hot." #ClimateStrike @guardianus #schoolstrike4climate

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019

If scientists are right, Miami Beach City Hall will be under 7ft of water by 2100. The youth of Miami has something to say about it #ClimateStrike @guardianus #schoolstrike4climate

— Richard Luscombe (@richlusc) September 20, 2019

The climate strike is being held the same day as the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and left nearly 3,000 people dead.

In recognition of that event, the climate strike is happening in concert with a Puerto Rico Day of Action to highlight the struggles the island still faces in its effort to rebuild, while remaining vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Marisol Rivera, a 13-year-old Puerto Rican student in Brooklyn, has been speaking on Friday about Maria and how it impacted her family, She will connect the issues there to the climate crisis.

Other Puerto Rican activists will also speak at the event, including Gustavo Rivera, a New York state senator (he is unrelated to Marisol).

Puerto Rico is still recovering from the hurricane, which affected all of the 3.5 million Americans who lived on the island. Its power grid was knocked out completely by the storm and families reported having no electricity nearly a year after the hurricane.

Here are some photographs of people gathering in New York’s Foley Square.

‘I missed bio for this’
‘I missed bio for this’ Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Foley Square, New York
Foley Square, New York Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Crowds of children skipped school in New York to join the protests - with parental permission
Crowds of children skipped school in New York to join the protests - with parental permission Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Exclusive: Trump to attend religious freedom meeting at UN during climate summit

US President Donald Trump at a press conference at the White House on Friday
US President Donald Trump at a press conference at the White House on Friday Photograph: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump is set to attend the United Nations headquarters during Monday’s key summit on the climate crisis – but will be there to take part in a meeting on religious freedom instead.

A senior UN official confirmed to the Guardian that the White House has booked one of the large conference rooms in the New York headquarters on Monday so that the president can address a gathering on religious freedom.

The move is likely to be seen as a blatant snub to the UN climate summit, to be held in the same building on the same day. Leaders from around the world, including the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson; France’s president, Emmanuel Macron; and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, are expected at the summit as part of a major UN push to heighten the response to the escalating climate crisis.

UN sources said the booking of the room was relatively last minute and will cause some logistical issues given the major security operation that accompanies the US president wherever he goes. But a senior UN official said they were “not panicked” given the large organizational capacity of the UN general assembly.

“No one was really expecting the president to come to the climate summit,” the official said. It’s understood that senior UN staff have realistic expectations of Trump and do not expect him to engage on the climate crisis, even for a summit held in his hometown. Trump has vowed the US will withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement.

Many folks have come to New York from all over the world to attend today’s strike, planning their trips months in advance.

Our Village, a coalition made of indigenous groups and communities of color, spoke to reporters this morning, in a studio space in New York City where they were making signs and distributing T-shirts in anticipation of the march.

Dinaman Tuxá, traveled from Bahia, Brazil with a delegation of six Brazillians from all over the country to speak out against the injustices against indigenous communities in Brazil.

“We’re going through a process of genoicde. … President Bolsonaro, he’s spreading hate against the indigenous populations of Brazil,” Tuxá said through a translator. “Us, the indigenous people, we are the guardians of the forest. … We need the world to recognize our contributions and help us protect our territories.”

Tuxá said that he traveled to New York because Brazillians aren’t listening to the cry of indigenous communities in their country, so they’re making an international cry in anticipation of the UN climate summit.

I’m helping @guardian with its live coverage of today’s climate strike in NYC. I started my day off with Our Village, a coalition of indigenous groups and communities of color, who are prepping for the march. People came from as far as Brazil and Indonesia for the strikes.

— Lauren Aratani (@LaurenAratani) September 20, 2019


The United Nations headquarters in New York will play host tonight to an immersive art installation by artist Joseph Michael that features images of an iceberg and six young advocates, including Greta Thunberg, addressing hopes and fears around the climate crisis. We have some pictures from last night’s final rehearsal:

We will be live through the rest of the day here in the US with Oliver Milman, Lauren Aratani and Ed Helmore reporting on the big rally in New York city.

Emily Holden, meanwhile, is out with activists in Washington DC while Richard Luscombe is at the strikes in Miami Beach.

Later on, Levi Pulkkinen in Seattle will be with more than 1,500 corporate Amazon workers expected to strike to highlight criticisms of the company’s climate policies. CEO Jeff Bozos said on Thursday that Amazon would do more and pledged the firm would be carbon neutral by 2040.

Susie Cagle, meanwhile, will be reporting on the strikes from the city of Richmond, California, and we’ll also have a dispatch from Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro.

All week, the Guardian has been part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate emergency.


Welcome from the Guardian’s office in New York, where we are now anchoring live coverage of these calls for climate action, which have drawn huge crowds around the world.

We expect the US will be staging its largest ever climate strike, with actions planned in more than 1,000 locations, including major rallies in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.

Here at the Guardian’s New York office, members of our team in midtown Manhattan walked out at midday local time to participate in the strike.

Further downtown, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will be leading a big strike rally which she is expected to speak at later in the day, ahead of addressing the UN’s Climate Action Summit next week.

Activists are gathering in Foley Square, near City Hall, and will start marching south on Broadway at 1pm ET to rally in Battery park.

People gather during the global climate strike march at Foley Square in New York
People gather during the global climate strike march at Foley Square in New York. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images


There have already been significant protests across the world today with millions joining the climate strike to urge politicians and businesses to take action to avert the climate crisis.

With parts of the US just waking up and others still asleep it’s far from over so I’m handing over to my colleague Mark Oliver, who is taking over the blog and will keep you abreast of all the latest developments in the US and elsewhere.

People gather and march during the global climate strike march in Washington, DC
People gather and march during the global climate strike march in Washington, DC. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images


Back in the UK, the police monitoring group Netpol says that officers are restricting protesters in London by kettling them (for those unfamiliar with the British vernacular it means confining demonstrators in a small area) on the southside of Westminster Bridge.

Police have kettled part of the #ClimateStrike demo.

They are saying people cannot protest but also one office just shouted at someone "if you leave you will be arrested."

Out of control, nonsensical and completely disproportionate.

— Netpol (@netpol) September 20, 2019


New York is standing up!

The scene in NYC #ClimateStrike

— Jonathan Mann (@songadaymann) September 20, 2019

The Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards has endorsed the climate strike, realising that Time is not actually On Our Side (sorry).

I stand in support of the global #climatestrike today. We need to do everything we can to protect our planet and humanity. Find out more at

— Keith Richards (@officialKeef) September 20, 2019


The Guardian has partnered with Friends of the Earth to highlight the climate crisis and raise funds for the charity, which is doing so much to address the damage that has been done and continues to be done to the planet.

Here is a country I’m not sure we’ve featured on the blog so far today.

The #ClimateStrike in Pakistan.

— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) September 20, 2019

With the US protests beginning, it feels like a good time to highlight this article on the huge impact climate change could have on the nation if it is not arrested.

The US is waking up (in more ways than one) and already there are sizeable crowds reported.

Huge crowd on #ClimateStrike in DC chanting “This is what democracy looks like!”#strikewithus #greennewdeal #fridaysforfuture

— Food & Water Watch (@foodandwater) September 20, 2019

There is a large crowd at the Old Capitol for the #ClimateStrike in #Tallahassee.

— Charles Roop (@CharlesRoopWCTV) September 20, 2019

#ClimateStrike at University of New Hampshire. Proud to see my students (undergrad and grad) here. Wildcats fight for the future!

— Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein 🙅🏽‍♀️ 🇧🇧🏳️‍🌈 (@IBJIYONGI) September 20, 2019

We’re here at Brooklyn Borough Hall rallying with local students for the #ClimateStrike, and we’re fired up!

— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) September 20, 2019

Here is a useful reminder about the impact of flying. You can also calculate the impact of your next trip.

Anuna De Wever, 18, a cofounder of Belgium’s school strike movement, which has organised 20 nationwide strike days since January, said today’s protest in Brussels made her feel hopeful.

It was amazing, we had 20,000 across the streets. I am really happy about this strike because I feel like after coming on the streets after 20 weeks, this is our season two. There are so many people ready and it just makes me feel very hopeful.

But she added:

Belgium is doing really badly on the climate crisis. There is not any ambition from any of our politicians. So we are really asking them to take responsibility because right now we don’t have a climate policy and they really need to take responsibility.

While Belgium has signed the Paris Agreement, the three Belgian regions (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia) have so far been unable to agree on the distribution of emissions cuts.

De Wever thinks the school strike movement is helping to bridge these old political divides.

There are some arguments, especially in politics but we don’t care about that and we want to unite everyone to fight with us. I think it’s beautiful that no one is thinking about this, are they from the Walloon side or are they from the Flemish side.

The Brussels protest finished close to the headquarters of the European commission and European council - not an accidental choice as the EU debates decarbonising its economy by 2050.

Earlier in the day, De Wever and other activists met the European commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, who has been tasked with drawing up a Green New Deal to allow the EU to move away from fossil fuel and meet its climate pledges.

EU civil servants on climate strike in Brussels
EU civil servants on climate strike in Brussels Photograph: Jennifer Rankin/The Guardian

The bulk of those still taking part in the climate strike in London reached the entrance to Trafalgar Square a little earlier, where police blocked it off at Northumberland Avenue, to chants of “let them through”. Many people are on their way home now.

I was speaking at the back of the crowd to two new mothers, Chloe Reeves and Lauren Slattery, who had brought along their children, Leo (five months) and Phoenix (seven months).

While deeply concerned about the climate crisis – to the extent that they have discussed jointly purchasing land on higher ground for children as a reaction to rising sea levels - they’ve been drawing some encouragement from the international focus of the strikes.

“To be honest as a new mother I’ve been putting all my energy into the basic job of keeping baby alive and looking after him and I’ve purposefully not thought about climate change because it has freaked me out so much, but now my mother instincts have allowed me to shift a bit of emphasis on to things like this and the action that we need to take,” said Chloe.

Lauren added: “Actions like today have really been inspiring. We recycle and do as much as we can in our personal daily lives but you really realise that so much more needs to done, and we really are on a tight schedule.”

Meanwhile, two of the youngest participants in the London #ClimateStrike - Phoenix (7mnths) & Leo (5mnths)

(They’ve brought along their mums Lauren and Cloe)

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) September 20, 2019


Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Generation Z Americans want to work for employers committed to tackling climate change, according to research released today from international non-profit organisation the Climate Group.

It surveyed more than 1,000 16- to 24-year-olds across the US to find out their views on climate change and how it will affect their future choices. Three in four young people (77%) feel climate change is an important issue that needs to be solved, with almost identical results for Democratic and Republican states (80% v 76%).

With the US federal government actively rolling back pro-climate policies, for most young people the bulk of responsibility to solve the climate crisis rests on the shoulders of big US businesses and state governments alike (60% for big businesses v 69% for state governments).

Four out of five (80%) support US companies adopting renewable energy in place of fossil fuels, with two in five (40%) believing they should be using 100% clean energy already. Two-fifths think the switch needs to be made by 2030 at the latest.

Within the transport sector, two-thirds (66%) of young people would support the replacement of short-haul flights with cleaner alternatives, such as high-speed rail.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, which annually hosts Climate Week NYC, said:

We need wholescale changes to economies and infrastructure to make pro-climate choices the new normal. It is in the interests of every business and government to sit up and listen to the next generation of workers and voters.

We know through our initiatives for business on renewables, electric vehicles, and smart efficient energy and work with state and regional governments that good progress is being made in the US, but more needs to be done at a greater pace and scale.


Demonstrations, marches, even open-air classes on environmental policy are planned in more than 40 Brazilian cities on Friday. And while numbers are likely to range widely – from 186 people who signed up for the Facebook event of a protest at 5pm in the southern city of Florianópolis to 12,000 promising to attend another at 4pm on São Paulo’s landmark Paulista Avenue, activists said the geographical spread of cities taking part shows how non-party, environmental activism is growing here.

“We are talking to churches, unions, social movements,” said Yumi Kawamura, 45, a sociologist helping organise the São Paulo event, “looking to unite organisations with different agendas and find a common way forward.”

In Rio de Janeiro, a protest at 10am outside the state legislature is aimed at children and young people. Another is scheduled for 2.30pm. Then at 4pm demonstrators hold an open-air class outside the headquarters of beleaguered environment agency Ibama - under attack from far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and his business-friendly environment minister, Ricardo Salles – before marching to the city centre.

Events are being staged by the Rio Climate Coalition (Coalizão Pelo Clima Rio), an umbrella group of collectives. “It is very plural, it is horizontal, it is collective. It is aligned with the movement that Greta (Thunberg) started in Europe,” said Hanna Cordeiro, 31, an advertising executive and climate activist from the coalition.

Brazil is one of the world’s deadliest countries for environmental defenders – one reason, Cordeiro said, why environmental demonstrations in Brazil are usually smaller here. Another is that pressing problems with poverty, crime, unemployment and a lack of basic sanitation obscure environmental issues for many Brazilians.

“In Brazil it is jobs and housing. The environmental agenda is seen as more subjective. In Europe it is much stronger,” said José Oeiras, 57, a climate organiser for the leftist Workers’ party helping stage a demonstration at 4pm in the Amazon city of Belém.

When the Amazon fires crisis exploded, Bolsonaro’s supporters flooded social media and WhatsApp with fake news – a report by the Publica journalism agency showed how automated Twitter accounts led attacks. The propaganda deluge echoed Bolsonaro’s unproven arguments that the blazes were started by foreign NGOs and foreign interest constituted an attack on Brazilian sovereignty.

Such nationalist rhetoric has long resounded in the Amazon. “This is an old argument,” Oeiras said. “It’s a contradiction we need to overcome.”


Fatima Zara Alarakha, 20, a campaigner for Islamic Relief UK and an arts student, marching on Millbank beside the Houses of Parliament in central London, said fighting climate change was imperative, given her beliefs:

I’m here today because it is my duty as Muslim and a human. Allah entrusted us to look after the earth and it is our responsibility to do so.

I’m striking today to represent my family in Pakistan whose houses are being flooded as a result of our overconsumption in the west. I’m also here to represent the future generations whose lives will be affected by the decisions we make. I want to bring children up in a world where they don’t have to suffer from majorly polluted air, decrepit housing and the health problems and poverty brought on by the climate crisis.

Fatima Zara Alarakha marching as part of the climate strike in London
Fatima Zara Alarakha marches in the climate strike in London. Photograph: Islamic Relief UK


Manisha Jeevan, 16, isn’t sure she is ready for her music exam tomorrow. But she decided to skip school because climate change is more important, she says. “If there is no earth then how will we live?”

She is protesting near Lodhi gardens, Delhi, with her friend, Kushi, also 16. They worry about pollution in Delhi, about the failure to manage waste properly and about the increasingly hot weather. “It’s September. Our parents used to get winter in this month but we have not got winter. We are losing our seasons,” says Kushi.

“It’s September. Our parents used to get winter in this month but we have not got winter. We are losing our seasons,” says Kushi, 16, who is protesting with her friend Manisha in Delhi #ClimateStrike

— Rebecca Ratcliffe (@rebeccarat) September 20, 2019

Rishika Singh, 18, a college student, worries about the damage that Delhi’s pollution is doing to her lungs. She says:

I even bought a mask, but it’s not so easy to wear every day. The pollution that we see here, and the water here which has a lot of chlorine in it - it’s not good. It’s the poorest who suffer the most.The rich are better off - they make the use of air conditioning and private cars for comfort.

It’s evening now in Delhi and, after an afternoon of chanting and banging drums, protesters have gone home. Nimrat Singh, 21, a law student, says people want action, not words, from their leaders. “We want the system to actually recognise climate change,” she says.


New York City is anticipated to see one of the largest climate strikes today. Thousands of people are expected at the protest, which is being co-hosted by over two dozen local and national groups. Protesters plan to gather at a park outside New York’s City Hall and march a mile down to Battery Park, where Greta Thunberg is scheduled to speak in the afternoon along with other performers and speakers.

In anticipation of the strikes, NYC’s Department of Education announced the absences of students in the district, the largest school district in the nation, will be excused on Friday with parental permission. In other words, 1.1 million students have been given the green light to attend the strikes if they want to. Many students have spent the last few weeks painting signs and banners in preparation.

Before the march’s official start at noon local time (5pm BST), a rally honoring the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria will take place in downtown Manhattan.


The central London rally, outside parliament, has heard speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, with the Labour leader calling for tougher global environmental standards to prevent the import of products made overseas using harmful processes.

From an open-top double-decker bus being used a stage, Corbyn told the crowd:

So when we measure the effects of climate change emissions, let’s measure those emissions at the source, where they are created, and not put ourselves in some comfort zone, that we’re doing OK at the expense of somebody else.

Corbyn also called for what Labour term a “green industrial revolution” – a version of the green new deal – to invest heavily in areas such as sustainable energy.

That green industrial revolution can bring about, I believe, 400,000 decent, high-quality jobs. And with that we also have cleaner air, we have better quality of life, and we deal with many of the health inequalities that exist in this country.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd during the global climate strike in London
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd during the global climate strike in London Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Beforehand, Lucas began by noting that in May parliament had passed a motion declaring a climate emergency. “So don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are not making a difference,” the Green MP told the crowd. “You are making history.”

Calling it “the biggest social justice issue of our time”, Lucas said the government needed to make more urgent plans than the commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

She said:

The truth is that a climate target of net zero by 2050 is not climate leadership. When your house is on fire you don’t call 999 and ask for a fire engine in 30 years’ time. You want urgent action now.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas speaks during today’s climate change demonstration in London
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas speaks during today’s climate change demonstration in London Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters


This is a striking picture, no pun intended, from Berlin.

The translation of the sign held by “Merkel” reads: “Mother (Merkel) has failed, now it’s the turn of young people.”

Climate strikers dressed up as Angela Merkel and Donald Trump
Climate strikers dressed up as Angela Merkel and Donald Trump Photograph: Kate Connolly/The Guardian

The Bishop of Wolverhampton, Clive Gregory, has asked all clergy members and lay employees within the Dioceses of Lichfield to set aside their usual duties today to focus instead on Climate Action activities.

Gregory led a special service at Lichfield Cathedral to raise awareness about the climate crisis. Around 550 pupils and teachers from five West Midlands primary schools attended.

Children from St Michael’s CE primary school in Lichfield arrived holding handmade signs and chanting “save our world”.

Children from St Michael’s C of E primary school in Lichfield
Children from St Michael’s C of E primary school in Lichfield Photograph: Pete Bate/Guardian Comm
Primary schoolchildren on their way to Lichfield Cathedral
Primary schoolchildren on their way to Lichfield Cathedral Photograph: Tom Bate/Guardian Community


My colleague, Ben Quinn, is in Westminster where climate strikers are heading towards Downing Street, but there is also a counter-demonstration by Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, and famed climate change denier, Piers.

In London #ClimateStrike crowd is moving in direction of N10.. cheers as thin yellow line of police move off in front

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) September 20, 2019

Piers Corbyn on a megaphone leading a small group of people in Westminster against the #ClimateStrike

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) September 20, 2019


The German government today announced a new climate protection package costing €50bn, which was immediately criticised as lacking ambition by Fridays for Future protesters.

At a press conference in central Berlin, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that as a scientist she had been impressed by Greta Thunberg’s motto “unite behind the science”.

Following a marathon negotiation session, Merkel’s conservatives and her Social Democrat coalition partner detailed plans for increased purchase premiers for electric cars, and new taxes for traditional cars with emissions over 115mg.

The measures include a ban on installing oil-fired heating in buildings from 2025, with a subsidy for householders prepared to switch to more climate-friendly alternatives.

A price for emissions of carbon dioxide has also been agreed that will take effect via trading in emissions certificates. The package also includes new investment in rail networks, and promises of reduced fares.

In a tweet, Fridays for Future criticised the plans:

Dear government: if you spend years doing nothing for climate protection and then, after months of massive public pressure, discuss measures that have nothing to do with [the plan to halt global warming at] 1.5C, then that’s not a ‘breakthrough’ but a scandal.


You can see some of the best pictures of the day here:

Thanks for the excellent questions, which have ranged from science and politics to a plea from a deskbound worker – hang in there! – and thanks to you all for taking part in the debate over climate issues and solutions.

Today’s climate strikes have sent a message round the world that will be heard in the highest echelons of politics and business, but which have also helped to spur public engagement with the solutions to the crisis that will be needed if we are to make the vast changes we must to avoid the worst ravages of climate chaos.

On a personal note, today is almost exactly 15 years since I started writing full-time about the climate crisis, and related environmental issues, and although progress in that time has been grindingly slow in many ways, it has also been marked by sudden leaps forward. Improving public understanding and engagement is at the heart of making a better future.

The messages from today are clear. This is not somebody else’s problem: it is ours. This is not a problem for the future: it is now. This is not an inevitable catastrophe: we can still make things much better.


A noisy and good natured protest is being held in Bedford, with a few hundred protesters, including one dressed as a giant dinosaur, marching along the High Street at lunchtime shouting “what do we want, climate justice”, “no planet B” and “this is what democracy looks like”.

The protest is being led by children from local schools, clearly drawing their inspiration from climate activist Greta Thunberg. Earlier, Bedford’s MP, Mohammad Yasin, addressed the crowd, saying he was sorry that politicians had let people down and pledging his support. One young protester addressing the crowd said: “We may only be 14 or 15 years old but we’re a force to be reckoned with.”

Later, a die-in was held in Harpur Square in Bedford town centre.

Die-in at climate strike in Harpur Square in Bedford town centre
Die-in at climate strike in Harpur Square in Bedford town centre Photograph: The Guardian


Indy Willaert, Liza, Fran Demeyer and Jana Bameils, all aged 13, have taken half a day off school to attend the climate march in Brussels.

Not all their teachers are in favour. “Some of them are alright with it, but some of them would rather have us in class,” says Fran, who has already taken part in several school strikes. “That climate is more important ... You can always do [your work] after school,” adds Indy.

Liza wants politicians to help make green choices easier, including reducing plastic waste. “We can only buy plastic because everything is in plastic. We want them to help us”

They all agree with Jana that politicians are not doing enough.

The four schoolgirls arrived from their home city of Ghent to join the climate march in Brussels, which started from the city’s North Station and will finish around the headquarters of the European Union.

Fran Demeyer, Jana Bamelis, Liza and Indy Willaert
Fran Demeyer, Jana Bamelis, Liza and Indy Willaert Photograph: Jennifer Rankin

Along the route there was music, drum beating and chanting. Young people jumped up and down to the slogan: “Plus chaud, plus chaud, plus chaud que le climat” (Hotter, hotter, hotter than the climate).

Stijn, a 28-year-old engineer, was missing work to join the protest. His employers “were not very happy about it but they couldn’t really make a fuss about it either,” he said. “Like the other side of my sign says there are no jobs on a dead planet so it is important to be here today.”

His friend, Deniz Malat, 27, a recent plant biology graduate, feels people are being ignored by the government. “We want change and we are being ignored by the government - the politicians. We want to come together to show we are serious and they should consider what we are saying here.”


People are also out in force in Poland.

Warsaw, Poland. #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 20, 2019

Ten-year-old Nellie Jacobs and her mother, Helen, had never protested before their hometown of Whaley Bridge made national headlines earlier this month.

Nellie and her Dad were choosing books in the library of their quiet Derbyshire town when Helen called them in a panic to say its dam had burst and the whole neighbourhood could go under.

Carrying a homemade placard saying “School strike for climate”, Nellie was allowed to take the day off school at Whaley Bridge primary to join the global strike in Manchester.

She said:

Everyone had to be evacuated and we raced for high ground. I was quite scared because we weren’t expecting it. We occasionally get police cars coming through Whaley for something that’s not in Whaley but we’ve not had crises in Whaley.

I’m worried it might happen again. We weren’t used to that much rain so it made me worry and it made me think all this rain, we don’t get it usually so I thought that it was climate change that caused the rain.

Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mother, Helen, at the Manchester climate strike
Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mother, Helen, at the Manchester climate strike Photograph: Josh Halliday/The Guardian

Her mother Helen Jacobs said she had never protested in her life but felt infuriated by the inaction of global leaders. She said:

It’s kind of getting the politicians to realise that they’ve made a mistake in saying that it’s really nothing when it’s a really big problem and we need to act on it now. I thought if I got out here and did something then it might happen.

It’s been building up a lot in my mind. The climate is under threat and it has been for a long time but the action doesn’t seem to have fit the imperative. We feel like we need to wake the government up, we need to wake world leaders up and make them realise that we need systematic massive change.

We’re here and ready for change to bring the temperature down. We feel like we need to shake them by the collar to make them realise. The scientists are there telling them and still President Trump is denying climate change exists! Other leaders need to grab him, shake him, and get him on board. The whole world needs to get on this.


In Aviemore, a town in the Cairngorms National Park, in the Scottish Highlands, strikes are taking place.

So proud to see my sons heading off for the #ClimateStrike today in #Aviemore. The placards are made and they are ready to go #FridayForFuture Time for us all to do more #Cairngorms #Climate #NationalPark

— Grant Moir (@cairngormsCEO) September 20, 2019

We were sent another photograph of activity there today from Iain Gibson.

climate strikes in aviemore


Nick from Norwich asked:

How can I join in the strike in a non-unionised office where no one cares about climate change without getting the sack?

That is a tough one. Most companies will be affected by climate chaos in some way, however: extreme weather events are already costing billions a year and those costs are not coming down soon. Foresighted companies will audit the risks they face and act to deal with them. If you work for a publicly listed company, you could try buying some shares and turning up at the AGM to ask questions about how they are dealing with climate risk. If you don’t, more of your co-workers may be interested in the climate than you think: polls show a great majority of people in most countries are concerned about the climate crisis.

Dan from Tunbridge Wells asked:

How will we make our nuclear power plants safe if this civilisation collapses? How does the hydrological cycle fit in? Can regenerative agriculture help?

Regenerative agriculture can help, and sustainable agriculture can reduce emissions, aid carbon storage and feed the world more healthily, as recent reports by the Lancet and WRI, among others, have shown. As for hydrology, the effects of climate chaos are likely to be the wet areas of the world getting wetter and the dry areas getting drier, which is problematic. And as for nuclear power, some people - including the Guardian’s George Monbiot - see it as an uncomfortable but perhaps necessary way out of the climate crisis, but the very long-term storage of nuclear waste is a problem still to be solved.

Kee from London asked:

How much impact do long-haul flights have? How does the impact compare with, say, driving a car, or using electrical household appliances every day?

My colleague Niko Kommenda recently published an excellent calculator showing what impact flights have. Whether you can offset the emissions from such flights by cutting carbon in other aspects depends on how many flights you take and where to.

Niko from Germany asked:

What is your estimate on how much renewables capacity Europe needs to build to meet its climate targets? My rough guess is between 30-40 GW per year, that would equal about 600 wind turbines per month, that’s quite a challenge (other forms of renewables are of course available).

The International Energy Agency and the European Environment Agency are the best sources.

Stephen from Cheshire asked:

Whatever happened to the plant a tree in ‘73 campaigns I grew up with in the 1970s? Surely now is a good time to kickstart this again with planting in every public space and private garden. Fruit trees also feed us and wildlife. I have planted hundreds of trees over the years. Ultimately, however, the planet is simply overcrowded. My wife and I chose to be child free so we’ve done our bit...

I love the plant a tree in 73 campaign as I used to have some of the stickers! Planting trees is part of the UK government response but so far targets have been missed. Today my colleague Rowena Mason reports on an NHS tree planting campaign.


Thousands of French youngsters skipped school to march through Paris. Claude Guyon, a cinema decorator and sculptor, was dressed as a Brazilian tribal leader and carried a “sacred rattle”. He said:

I’m here to represent the guardians of the Earth from north and South America. The tribal leader, who is a woman, gave me this headdress so I could be here today as an ambassador for her.

Claude Guyon, dressed as a Brazilian tribal leader, at the Paris climate strike
Claude Guyon, dressed as a Brazilian tribal leader, at the Paris climate strike. Photograph: Kim Willsher/The Guardian


Primary school headteacher Scott McFarlane took the morning off work to attend the Middlesborough climate strike with his wife, who is also a teacher, and his nine-year-old son, who is a pupil at his school.

During the strike, dozens of protesters staged a “die in” in the North Yorkshire town’s Centre Square – lying on the pavement for seven minutes to illustrate the rate at which it is believed species are becoming extinct.

A ‘die-in’ led by climate strikers in Middlesborough on Friday 20 September
A ‘die-in’ led by climate strikers in Middlesborough. Photograph: Scott McFarlane/Guardian Community

McFarlane allowed other children at Stokesley primary academy to take part in the strikes if they wished, giving them an “education other than at school” mark on the register.

While not many took up the offer, he said the fact that so many young people seemed to be engaged with environmental activism had given him hope.

“I think Greta Thunberg’s an absolute idol. We’ve got kids at school who last year were coming dressed as Ariana Grande, but have now changed their hairstyles to look like Greta,” said McFarlane.

Climate strikers in Middlesborough on Friday 20 September
Climate strikers in Middlesborough. Photograph: Scott McFarlane/Guardian Community

McFarlane, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion Teesside, said he and his son would be striking from the school next month for XR’s October Rebellion in London.

“I am genuinely scared for the future of the human race. Not in the distant future but soon. We have to act,” he said.

“If there’s any further action like today, I will always let children have the day off. Not everybody agrees and I’m not asking them to, really. But I hope our example is one that people are starting to take on board.”


Of all the venues globally that will host climate strike protests today, none can surpass Miami Beach for poignancy. Florida’s poster-city for sea level rise will sink under seven feet of water by the end of the century, if scientists’ predictions are realised, and already it takes only a high tide and a rainy day to send floodwaters surging inland.

These dark clouds are why student climate activists from all over South Florida will gather at Miami Beach city hall this morning to reinforce their message that more needs to be done. At the most recent youth strike in May, barely four dozen waved placards and called for action - but today students will walk out of their South Florida schools and assemble there in their hundreds to highlight the urgency of the moment.

Gabriella Marchesani, a Miami high school senior and an organiser of today’s rally:

We’re told by the adults, ‘what you’re doing is a good thing, keep up the great work’. But it shouldn’t be just ‘oh, keep doing what you’re doing’, it should be ‘let me see what I can do to help you. How can I be a climate voter? How can I switch my lifestyle to be more sustainable? How can I lower my carbon footprint?’

She adds:

We want this to be that historic moment that we look back on and say that was the day we got it changed. That was the day we were able to make people hear us, and create legislation and address this crisis.


Andreu from Valencia, Spain asked:

According to scientists, the “natural evolution” of the sun will lead to major climate change here on the Earth. So, what role, if any, does solar activity (solar winds, solar flares, sunspots) play in climate change right now? Are we missing something, have we miscalculated or does the sun have nothing to do with climate change at this point?

Changes in the sun’s activity are not causing the climate change and global heating we are currently experiencing. They are caused by human actions, chiefly burning fossil fuels and changing land use, as successive reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have conclusively shown.

Alex from Warwickshire asked:

The electrification of small vehicles is seen as an achievable near-term step towards cutting emissions, but to replace a significant fraction of the current fossil-fuelled fleet would presumably require a drastic increase in the global extraction and use of ‘rare-earth’ metals for battery manufacture. How well do we currently understand the environmental impact of such a change and are there more sustainable battery technologies on the horizon?

In the long term, availability of rare earths will be an important issue but it is equally important to note that there are no serious current supply problems as the manufacturing rates show. Batteries are one of the biggest areas of research and there are multiple avenues being explored, from nanotechnology to graphene and even aluminium, a common metal, as an alternative. Hydrogen fuel cells are another possibility.

Tracey from Ross-on-Wye asked:

Guy McPherson, an environmental scientist, argues that, due to the protection from the sun’s heat attributable to global dimming, if we cut carbon emissions the Earth will heat faster, and the planet will be uninhabitable for any species within a decade. Why is this theory not spoken about or even mentioned by any other leading environmental voices?

Because it is wrong. The dimming of light from the sun owing to aerosols does have a small effect, but as you seem to be pointing out, many of the aerosols are soot, or black carbon. Black carbon actually adds to warming, especially when it falls on snow. Removing black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants could reduce temperatures by as much as 0.5C as work by Durwood Zaelke and others has clearly shown.

You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.


Lyra Harris, six, from Islington, London, protesting outside 10 Downing Street, said:

Stop this nonsense. Our Earth is getting too hot. We have to act now for everyone. It’s not just for humans, climate change harms the animals too.

Lyra Harris, six, protesting outside Downing Street
Lyra Harris, six, protesting outside Downing Street Photograph: The Guardian


Over in Greece it is pupils who have been leading protests with hundreds pouring into Athens’ main plaza, Syntaga square.

Ariadni, 15, holding a hand-drawn placard of a weeping planet under a halo of heat said:

I am here to raise awareness. There’s not much time left. This is global. People need to be informed and they need to act now.

Maria Makarem, the 16-year-old who had helped organise the strike said the protesters had ended up in front of the parliament to ram home the message that urgent times call for urgent measures.

“They have to understand, all the politicians in there, that we are the new generation and we want change,” she said, her own placard proclaiming: “Our world, our future, our choice.”

Yiannis Marangakis and Foivos Anastadiades, both aged 10 and both taken out of class by their mothers Daniella and Myrtia to attend the protest, had an even simpler message: “The earth is very important to us. We have to save it.”

Lena and Ariadni stand in front of the Greek parliament with weeping planet sign.
Lena and Ariadni stand in front of the Greek parliament with weeping planet sign. Photograph: Helena Smith/The Guardian


This shows the scale of the march in Edinburgh:

The Edinburgh climate march is loooooooooong! I didn’t get anywhere near the end. #schoolstrike4climate

— jonathanwatts (@jonathanwatts) September 20, 2019

Ian Mantgani, 36, is striking in London today. He says:

We have to put pressure on our employers, MPs and friends. We need a new power grid and electric cars on the road or we’re toast. Keep pressuring those in power for concrete change and keep pressuring them when they give you mealy mouthed answers. I believe that’s the best way forward for change.”

Ian Mantgani in London
ian Photograph: Ian Mantgani


Chris from South Africa asked:

Why are we not seeing a rise in sea levels? Could it perhaps partly be due to the fact that rainfall across the SAHEL region that is rapidly greening is 40m olympic swimming pools up on a few years ago?

We are seeing a rise in sea levels. And sea levels alone are not the biggest problem: storm and tidal surges are much worse when sea levels are even slightly higher, with the power to overtop our sea defences.

Desertification is increasing in many parts of Africa, with climate change one of the reasons but not the only one (overgrazing and land use changes also play a major role).

Artur from Crewe asked:

Are we prepared to do real things to tackle climate change? We can say do this or do that but our use of social media takes significant resources. The cheap food, cheap technology, new mobiles released every year is driven by customers not the other way around so how many are actually genuinely prepared to change their way of life?

People are increasingly understanding that lifestyle changes are necessary, from veganism and flexitarian diets to changing our travel habits. Renewable energy such as wind and solar is already cheaper or on a par with fossil fuels in many areas, and its deployment is increasing fast.

A Guardian reader from London who wanted to remain anonymous asked:

How democratic is it that a secondary school threatens their pupils with being expelled if they participate in today’s strike? How are we teaching ‘British values’ to our kids if in their school are not allowed to protest for something that fully impacts their future? What will it be next? Forbid them to participate in any human rights support act?

Schools will make their own judgment, but engaging children with a subject of huge importance in scientific, political and historical terms might strike many teachers as a great opportunity. The climate emergency relates to chemistry, physics, biology, geography, history, social studies – you could probably even fit it into a load of other lessons too. Why not see this as an opportunity to engage pupils rather than turn them off?

Derek from West Sussex asked:

The UK has a good record of deploying offshore wind generation. What I don’t understand is why we aren’t deploying wave power and tidal power generation? We have the most coastline per head of any major European country. Wave power never stops, unlike wind, it is more energy dense than wind, and it could have other benefits like reducing coastal erosion.

Tidal power solutions likewise are always available and energy dense. There is an ecological cost in habitats but a balance is needed here. Do we really think that the ecological cost of a tidal barrier is worse than a nuclear power station? There is an ecological cost to farmland too, but we need to eat, so we cut down all the forests we had in medieval times to make room for agriculture. We just need to make some room for power generation too.

The UK is a world leader on offshore wind, as the latest green power auctions show. Wave and tidal power have proved more difficult, in the latter case partly owing to the changes that would be required to landscape a tidal lagoon. But as public subsidy is less needed for wind and solar as prices have come down, it might become possible to spend more of it on wave and tidal power – they may prove cheaper than the high costs agreed to by the government for nuclear energy.


The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, received a warm applause at the city’s climate protest when he gave a speech pledging that “fracking is the past, it is not the future” – but by far the biggest cheers went to a 10-year-old girl called Lillia who took to the stage next.

The local schoolgirl, with a high-pitched Mancunian accent and fluorescent ear-defenders tied to her backpack, gave a rousing speech taking aim at politicians for their “lies” – before turning directly to Burnham.

Lies, when you don’t count the airport in the emission figures! Lies, when we have 1,200 air pollution related deaths in Manchester just last year – but they plan to build a huge car park right next door to a school in Ancoats.

Lies when the pension funds of Manchester are still investing £1.4bn in fossil fuel companies … Lies, in April the mayor Andy Burnham, when I asked if he would support us. I asked for more than publicity stunt pictures. Where’s the action?

To huge cheers, she continued:

Today I woke up to the images around the world of a million people striking and my heart lifted because I knew we weren’t alone in our fight. Thank you for coming out to support us. Thank you for having the courage to fight for our future!

To adults I say, you have the power to vote you need to keep amplifying our voices. We the youth cannot wait until we are old enough - we need action now.

Greater Manchester mayor @AndyBurnhamGM addresses climate protest: “My generation has failed you - and I include myself in that”. Loud cheer greets his declaration that “fracking is the past - it does not belong in the future.”

— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) September 20, 2019


Numbers at Berlin‘s Klimastreik have reached 100,000, it has just been announced.

Carola Rackete, the SeaWatch Captain who was arrested in Italy several weeks ago addressed Berlin’s Klimastreik, to huge applause.

She told them:

We adults are responsible for the fact that the Earth is dying ... we should not be under the illusion that our individual actions can ... turn the situation around.

She paid tribute to “the children and young people who have campaigned tirelessly for over a year ... and managed to get this issue to the top of the political agenda”.

She said temperatures could be expected to rise by 4-6C by the end of the century. Extinction Rebellion, to which she belongs, was telling the truth when it predicted the collapse of human civilisation as a result. We can no longer stop global heating, she said, “it’s too late”, but we can “reduce greenhouse gases with immediate effect”.

Students take part in the global climate strike of the Fridays for Future movement in Berlin, Germany.
Students take part in the global climate strike of the Fridays for Future movement in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Christian Mang/Reuters


Sarah from Cardiff asked:

What are the advantages people will see and experience through the changes we need to make due to climate change? For example, I believe cycling rather than driving will make people healthier, shopping locally rather than online increases daily interactions. Do you envisage the activists and media managing to put this side of the crisis across?

Cleaning up greenhouse gases has myriad beneficial side effects, including cleaner air as diesel and petrol cars are taken off the roads in favour of electric vehicles, public transport and walking or cycling. Our knowledge of the harms of air pollution has expanded dramatically in the past few years: we now know air pollutants can be found in all human organs, and it is linked not only to respiratory problems and heart disease but also dementia, developmental problems and miscarriage.

In some ways, the cleaning up of air pollution is easier to explain than climate chaos because people can see and feel air pollution more clearly than the link between invisible carbon dioxide and extreme weather, and increasingly air pollution campaigners are making the link with climate benefits from moving away from coal and diesel in particular.

Louis from London asked:

Today is wonderful to see - the energy and passion - but how can you be sure we haven’t left it too late ? There is a climate doomosphere - I’m thinking Paul Beckwith, Peter Wadhams and others who suggest overwhelming events in the next decade or two. Can they be dismissed as fringe cranks?

Climate change is a problem for today, not the distant future, and the effects are already being seen, as we have extensively reported. But there is still time to stave off the worst effects if we take action on emissions now.

The IPCC has said emissions must be effectively zero by around mid-century to hold the world to no more than 1.5C of warning, and every effort to bring down emissions helps towards that goal. But there are scary things we know less about: tipping points, which could cause runaway heating to take hold. These include Arctic sea ice melt, which reveals dark sea instead of reflective ice, creating more warming, and the melting permafrost that releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, in a vicious circle.

Some have suggested we turn our efforts to adapting to climate change instead of cutting emissions. But adapting without cutting emissions is like trying to mop up an overflowing sink with the taps still running. The truth is we need to do both, and urgently.

You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.


Just to stand back from the breathless enthusiasm of the protests for a moment, our environment editor, Damian Carrington, has been pulling out a series of charts that highlight the scale of the challenge - and the beginnings of some solutions.

Perhaps the most important one is this: the planet’s average temperature started a steady climb two centuries ago, but has rocketed since the second world war as consumption and population has risen. Global heating means there is more energy in the atmosphere, making extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.


We have also tried to capture this alarming rise in temperatures in a startling piece of music. Alas, it is not a banger, so is unlikely to become a global anthem for the Friday strikes movement.

150 years of global warming in a minute-long symphony

But it’s not all gloom and doom. The three charts below show the progress we have made, in renewable energy generation, electric vehicle production, and battery development.



Your climate crisis questions answered

Today’s climate strikes highlight a crucial fact: that our actions in the next few years will decide the world’s future, and whether we can avoid the worst ravages of global heating or succumb to climate chaos.

We must effectively eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and nurture the natural world enough to absorb the remainder, by mid-century to avoid a future of catastrophic and irreversible climate chaos. Extreme weather is already driving 2 million people a week to seek humanitarian aid, and that is set to rise to 150 million in the next decade alone.

The Guardian will try to answer your questions on the climate strikes and the forces shaping them. You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.


Guardian environment journalist Fiona Harvey will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the climate crisis between 1.30pm and 2.30pm BST.

You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.


The ⁦⁦@guardian⁩ office at 12:28pm today #ClimateStrike

— Nikhita Chulani (@NChulani) September 20, 2019

The US is set to stage its largest ever day of protest over the climate crisis, with tens of thousands of students set to be joined by adults in abandoning schools and workplaces for a wave of strikes across the country.

Climate strikes will take place in more than 1,000 locations, with major rallies in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.

The young strikers’ totemic figure, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, will take part in the New York walkout and will speak to massed protesters in Manhattan.

Authorities in New York City have announced that its student population of 1.1 million is allowed to skip school in order to attend the strikes.

Dozens of companies, including Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s, will support striking staff, with major unions also backing the walkouts.

Dulce Belen Ceballos Arias, an 18-year-old from San Francisco, said she will be striking because “I want children of my own and I want them to have a better life than me. I don’t want that to be taken away by climate change.”

Students in Boston will also be excused school, with a crowd of 10,000 expected to assemble. “We are excited to disrupt business as usual, to demand a Green New Deal,” said Audrey Maurine Xin Lin, an 18-year-old organizer in Boston, in reference to the resolution put forward by progressive Democrats to enact a second world war-style mobilization to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.


A big difference on today’s march in London is the presence of trade union activists alongside young people and their parents, writes Guardian environment correspondent Matthew Taylor,

Graham Petersen, from the UCU lecturers’ union and member of the green jobs alliance, said unions had to take a lead in the climate fight.

This is going to be the defining issue for future generations and if we are not involved now how are we going to be relevant to the young people here today when they go into work.

Trade unions around the world are backing today’s protests and Petersen said it was “about time” they engaged in the climate crisis.

In the UK it is difficult because people have their hands full with austerity and precarious jobs but unions are starting to realise that if we get the climate justice policies right we can tackle not just the climate but also a wider social justice issues.

Trade unionists join today’s climate march in London.
“This is going to be the defining issue for future generations and if we are not involved now how are we going to be relevant to the young people here today.”

— Matthew Taylor (@mrmatthewtaylor) September 20, 2019

Lois Borny has been speaking to young people on the London march, including student Noemie, who told her:

It’s depressing knowing you’re waking up to not such a bright future. The climate crisis has always been in the back of my mind, but I always used to be a bit of a pessimist ... now that the movement has gained traction you get the feeling that you can change something.

When asked what she thinks about the fact children are leading the movement she says:

It almost seems like a game for them [the politicians]. They aren’t taking it seriously. This isn’t for fun or just for the sake of it. It’s real and urgent.

It is Nazreen’s first day in London, having arrived from Malaysia yesterday. The 22-year-old, who is studying political philosophy, said:

I’m happy this is happening because at home we have a big haze problem, because of forests being burned in Borneo.

Nazreen says that if we were in Borneo, from where we are standing (by the stage) the Houses of Parliament would be unrecognisable from the haze.

Borneo is burning. It has one of the oldest rainforest in the world and half of it is gone. We are really proud of our rainforests, but what is there to be proud of when it is gone?

He says that it is good children are leading the movement, because it is allowing them to see “what is happening in the real world”.


A small but noisy crowd gathered in the financial district of Sandton in Johannesburg, outside the offices of Sasol, a huge South African energy and chemical company.

Natalie Kapsosideris, 16, said:

We don’t really have a way out of this. The future looks really dismal at this point. There’s not going to be a lot of food available, there will be droughts, floods, natural disasters. The fact that Sasol gets away with stealing our future from us ... and it’s all because they want to make money.

Tariro Banganayi, 18, a student at Sacred Heart college, said:

It’s important that I lend my voice to this cause ... a lot of people who aren’t as privileged as I am don’t have the opportunity to speak out against these sorts of issues, who live where the air is unbreathable, where toxic waste is dumped in rivers, those people don’t have a voice to speak out ... Also I am here to educate people about these issues and to get as much information from as many different places as I can ... I am going to try to diversify the way that I raise awareness ... I am going to use my social media a lot more effectively, I am going to centre my conversations with my friends, I am going to bring it up at the dinner table with my family ... because if every person tells one person then we can tell everybody.

Climate protesters demonstrate outside the local government legislature’s offices in Johannesburg, South Africa
Climate protesters demonstrate outside the local government legislature’s offices in Johannesburg, South Africa Photograph: Themba Hadebe/AP


Crowds of students in Delhi are blocking the road near to Lodhi Gardens, chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice.” “You can’t run away from climate change,” reads one sign.

Delhi is one of 21 cities predicted to run out of groundwater by 2020, according to the Indian government’s policy thinktank, Niti Aayog.

It is also one of the most polluted cities in the world.“The lungs of an 11 year old have black spots on them,” Shivam, a law student, says. “This is why we have to change things now.”

Crowds in Delhi participating in the climate strike
Climate Strike India Photograph: Rebecca Ratcliffe/The Guardian


In Exeter, the protest is in full swing. Leon Hayton-Twigg, 11, (pictured below with his brother Lucas and his friend Ossian Finn, 10) says: “We have come here to show the people there’s a problem and we want it to stop.”

Leon (right), with Ossian (left) and Lucas
Leon Hayton-Twigg (right), with Ossian (left) and Lucas. Photograph: Marietta d'Erlanger

More of the protest signs from the Exeter strikes ...

Global climate strike Exeter
Global climate strike, Exeter. Photograph: Marietta d'Erlanger
Global climate strike Exeter
Global climate strike, Exeter. Photograph: Marietta d'Erlanger
Global climate strike Exeter
Global climate strike, Exeter. Photograph: Marietta d'Erlanger


Archie Graham, 15, and his friends were supposed to be in school today but felt compelled to join Manchester’s climate strike, while still rocking their school ties.

He said:

What’s the point in going to school if we can’t use that knowledge in the future because there won’t be a future for us.

His friend, Sam Pembroke, added:

It’s really important because there’s no second chance - this is the only chance we have. If this carries on it’s just going to end.

Their friend, Santana Daza, 15, said they might get in trouble for bunking off school but it was worth it:

I think it definitely does make a difference. They encourage us to learn about it but we all know about climate change - we don’t need to be educated about it, it’s more about taking action.

Herding a group of six placard-carrying children, Kitty Rostron, 40, said her seven-year-old daughter Margot watches Greta Thunberg on YouTube and asks:

Why is this happening? Why is Boris Johnson not doing anything? Why do people not make good decisions about climate change?

Her friend Karine Joshua, 39, said it was important to bring children along so they understand what is happening to the environment:

There’s a real crisis right now, not in 10, 20 years time. Action is needed now so we’re trying to teach them if we come together and show our support hopefully we can make a change.

Archie Graham, 15, and his mates were supposed to be in school today: “What’s the point in going to school if we can’t use that knowledge in future because there won’t be a future for us?”

— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) September 20, 2019

Here is a selection of images from other climate strikers:

#ClimateStrike Bristol

— Andy Davies (@adavies4) September 20, 2019

Huge turnout for today’s #ClimateStrike in Oxford - west end of Broadstreet and Cornmarket completely full

— Cherwell (@Cherwell_Online) September 20, 2019

Amazing scenes on Brighton sea front right now. This goes on for miles.

— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) September 20, 2019

#ClimateActionNow strikes already unfolding across the globe — these are some of the first views out of Australia of thousands taking to the streets for the global #climatestrike — major events in Ann Arbor and Detroit today.

— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithWXYZ) September 20, 2019

#Climatestrike #Paris

— Saskya Vandoorne (@SaskyaCNN) September 20, 2019

Thousands of protesters have come today to join the climate strike in #Dortmund. #ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture #Klimastreiks

— Mazen Hassoun (@HassounMazen) September 20, 2019

Hello, this is Haroon Siddique taking over from Sarah. The video below shows a small proportion of the staff who walked out at the Guardian. If you want to get in touch, please tweet me @Haroon_Siddique

#ClimateStrike at the Guardian

— Haroon Siddique (@Haroon_Siddique) September 20, 2019


The Guardian live blog will be closing from noon (12:00 BST) until 12.30 BST as we are participating in a solidarity strike. When it resumes, my colleague Haroon Siddique will be taking over.

In an email to staff explaining why we are walking out for 30 minutes, Guardian editor in chief, Katharine Viner, said:

We fully support this global campaign, and we want colleagues to feel able to show solidarity with campaigners - so we are happy to support this activity across the organisation.


Mayors across the world support the strikes

Sadiq Khan is not the only mayor who has come out strongly behind today’s strikes.

The leaders of Paris, New York City, Los Angeles and Copenhagen released a strongly worded joint statement overnight.

Our shared planet is facing a climate emergency. The science is clear that, without urgent action, sea levels will rise further, extreme temperatures will become the norm and climate-related disasters will inflict even greater damage. We are making historic investments to prepare and adapt our cities to the inevitable consequences of emissions already released into the atmosphere.

When your house is on fire, somebody needs to sound the alarm. Young people in our cities, displaying incredible maturity and dignity are doing just that. School children are taking to the streets, drawing attention to the terrifying threat that climate breakdown poses to their future. Young people recognise just how unfair climate change is. Those who have generated the least greenhouse gas emissions, including the poorest, most disadvantaged and youngest in society, will suffer the worst effects of a rapidly changing global climate. They are right to sound the alarm, and they are right to demand action that tackles climate change and inequality simultaneously.

On September 20, these inspiring young leaders have called for adults to join them for a Global Climate Strike. We have an opportunity to show, not only that we hear their message, but that they have inspired us to act even faster.

As mayors, our greatest responsibility is to protect the lives and wellbeing of those that live in our cities. As adults, our obligation is to leave the world in a better state for our children than we inherited it. Fortunately, the evidence is increasingly clear that transforming our cities to prevent the climate crisis will also make them healthier, more equitable, safer and ultimately better places to live. The cities of the future will enjoy affordable and reliable public transport; the air will be free from poisonous toxins; buildings will generate zero emissions thanks to ultra-high efficient heating, cooling and insulation; waste will be recycled or reused, and all of this will be powered by abundant renewable energy. We have a unique opportunity to bestow a bright and hopeful legacy to the next generation. This is the future we want.

That is why we are supporting the Global Climate Strikes. Mayors around the world, working through C40 Cities, are committed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and taking action to peak their emissions as our cities already have and bring them down sharply by 2030. Many businesses, investors, labour groups, faith leaders and local communities share our urgency. But we cannot tackle the climate crisis alone. We need science-based action from every sector of the economy, and we expect greater leadership from nation states. Young people are telling us that the climate emergency demands an emergency response. We couldn’t agree more.

It was signed by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, as well as the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and the lord mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.


Lovely thread by Mary Hamilton on what to do if you cannot make the strikes today but still want to make an effort to reduce your waste.

So for a little while I've been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce, especially plastic, and of the various things I've tried there are two that make me happiest:
1) milk delivery
2) wormery

— Mary Hamilton is stockpiling schadenfreude (@newsmary) September 20, 2019

All of which is also by way of saying that if you - like me -can't #climatestrike today for whatever reason, there are other things you can do to join in. Not everyone can do worms or milk delivery obvs. Would love to hear more ideas.

— Mary Hamilton is stockpiling schadenfreude (@newsmary) September 20, 2019

Useful links!
Find a milk delivery service in your area:
Composting/wormeries: works with some local councils, but usually easier to google [your local council] + "wormery" as each council seems to have its own scheme

— Mary Hamilton is stockpiling schadenfreude (@newsmary) September 20, 2019


Greater Manchester mayor @AndyBurnhamGM addresses climate protest: “My generation has failed you - and I include myself in that”. Loud cheer greets his declaration that “fracking is the past - it does not belong in the future.”

— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) September 20, 2019

Ruby, 10, and Dougie, 7, (pictured below), were the first to start striking outside the Scottish parliament, back on a cold dark 11 January. Back then it was just them and the police. Seeing how big the movement has become, Ruby says she feels “happy and proud”. “Amazing,” says Dougie.

Ruby, 10, and Dougie, 7


Staff at the Guardian will be striking today at noon, so there will be no posts on the live blog between 12:00 BST and 12:30 BST.

Making carbon-neutral clothes out of algae: the designers taking on fast fashion – video

The fashion industry is a fossil-fuel-guzzling operation, as many of our clothes are made from petroleum-based textiles such as polyester. Even natural fibres such as cotton have a huge carbon footprint and require a large portion of the world’s pesticides.

In a bid to solve this disastrous environmental equation, scientists and designers are creating completely new textiles from fast-growing, carbon-sucking organisms such as micro- and macro-algae, mycelium (elements of fungus), bacteria and fermented yeast. These new biotechnologies efficiently convert sunlight and CO2 into mass raw materials, suck carbon out of the atmosphere and pave the way to a carbon-negative wardrobe.


Tens of thousands of young people and adults are already streaming into the streets around Westminster in central London, and organisers say the protest, which was formally due to start at 11am, already dwarfs previous school strike demonstrations.

Among those gathered in the sunshine were a group of medics. Isobel Braithwaite, a public health doctor from London, said they were there because the climate crisis was also a health crisis: “From heatwaves to floods; food shortages to devastating storms, these things are having a huge impact on health now and it is going to get worse.”

She said it was time adults listened to young people who had taken the lead in addressing this crisis. “We need urgent widespread action and it must happen quickly... we are running out of time.”

Medics join tens of thousands of climate strikers in London. “The climate crisis is a health crisis... we are running out of time.”

— Matthew Taylor (@mrmatthewtaylor) September 20, 2019


Glorious scenes in Edinburgh as thousands of children, parents, students and musicians gather at the Meadows for the Climate Strike.

“This is our Earth and our future. We need to take care of it,” said 11-year-old Leila Koita, pictured here with friends Eilidh Tedesco, Norah Turner, Tilly Torrie, Megan Berger and Nan Zhang.

Norah’s mum, Jo Spencely, says she hasn’t been on a demo for decades but she is here to show support. “I’m massively concerned about their future. I almost can’t bear to read about the climate. It’s so scary.”

The march sets off at 11:30am and will pass through Edinburgh city centre and end with a rally in front of the Scottish parliament. As in London, police have imposed restrictions, in this case by refusing permission for the marchers to walk down Princes Street.

As elsewhere, this is just the start of a week of climate action. On Saturday, activists will stage a “die in”, Monday will be a “day of disruption”, musicians will join a “Love the Planet festival” on Wednesday, and there’ll be another rally outside parliament the following day.

Protesters in Edinburgh
Protesters in Edinburgh
edinbugh2 Photograph: Jonathan Watts


Even Emmeline Pankhurst has joined in the protests in Manchester. A statue of the suffragette hero has donned a bright orange lifejacket and has a placard that asks: “Ready for rising sea levels to reach this height?”

The stunt was the idea of Katie Bradshaw and Ryan Griffiths, both 31, who described themselves as first-protesters who felt the need to act today.

“Emmeline still carries that Mancunian spirit of standing up for what she believes in and great causes,” said Griffiths. “Climate change is so important and we think it’s an issue she would be at the forefront of if she were around today.”

Bradshaw added: “We’ve got to do our bit, even if it’s just putting some signs up and making people realise we need to look after our planet. If she was around today she’d be supporting it.”

Emmeline Pankhurst showing the world the way in Manchester

— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) September 20, 2019


Friends of the Earth, an international network of environmental organisations in 74 countries, is calling on people across Britain to join young people in striking against climate change.

Muna Suleiman, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:

Most of us want to fix the climate crisis. And it can be done. But we need our politicians to act. Climate breakdown is already hurting people around the world, with many of those who have contributed least to the crisis being subjected to the harshest impacts.

“And right when we need our leaders to step up, they continue to let us down. From filling the skies with more planes, to backing fracking in the UK and funding oil and gas projects abroad.

“That’s why we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with young people to call on our politicians to deliver emergency climate action now. And we’re asking everyone to join us.”

Climate strikes protest in London
\ Photograph: Friends of the Earth


Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind kicks off Berlin’s “Klimastreik” to huge cheers from the thousands gathered, although no official estimates of the numbers attending are available yet.

Contender for banner of the day is: ‘Grandpa what is a snowman?’ Hundreds of people are streaming through the portals of the Brandenburg Gate, through the Tiergarten Park and from every direction onto Platz des 18. März.

A sign at the protest, reading: Grandpa what is a snowman?

Lots of Berlin’s young are here with the blessing of their parents and teachers, though many have defied their schools to be here.

Berlin’s “Klimastreik”


At 1pm, the student strikers are planning to let off alarm clocks across the UK, and are encouraging businesses to set off their fire alarms at the same time in support.

Jake Woodier, the campaign co-ordinator at UK Student Climate Network, said: “Young people across the world have taken the lead in highlighting the need for urgent climate action over the past year.

“They are calling for adults to join them for the global climate strike, just three days before the UN climate action summit to pressure our governments to act to tackle the climate crisis.

“Raise the Alarm will help draw attention to the climate emergency in workplaces across the breadth of the UK,” Woodier said.


Students at Torquay Girls’ Grammar school have made a video about climate change.


What’s the carbon footprint of my trip?


The square outside Manchester’s grand central library has been taken over by a sea of people carrying homemade placards and chanting. Hundreds of those gathered sang “Whose planet? Our planet!” with scores of children among the protesters.

Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mother Helen said they were motivated to take part in the global climate strike after their hometown Whaley Bridge was evacuated earlier this month when it was deluged with months-worth of rain in a short period, causing a dam to burst and dozens of properties to flood.

Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mum Helen felt compelled to be at the climate strike in Manchester after the serious flooding in their hometown Whaley Bridge this month

— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) September 20, 2019


Nice cartoon just in from reader Jesse Leonard. You get the picture, literally. Possibly the first time the climate crisis has been likened to a purple piano, but why not?

Cartoon Photograph: Jesse Leonard

If there are any other artists out there with climate emergency sketches/drawings/cartoons, send them in via this link.

Why are people striking – a video on the environment challenges in Ecuador

The Kichwa tribe in the Sarayaku region of the Amazon in Ecuador believe in the “living forest”, where humans, animals and plants live in harmony. They are fighting oil companies who want to exploit their ancestral land. A delegation of indigenous people are at the Paris COP21 climate conference to make sure their voices are heard. Can they win their battle?

The Amazonian tribespeople who sailed down the Seine

Tweeting a photo from a climate strike, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said:

Young people here and across the world are making it impossible to ignore the environment and climate emergency.

This is the wonderful youth #ClimateStrike in my constituency - now I'm on my way to the main London demonstration.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) September 20, 2019


Kate Connolly, the Guardian and Observer’s Berlin correspondent, has been out this morning in the German capital.

Crowds gathering now at Brandenburg Gate. Lots of kids who are missing school, some with teachers’ blessing, many without

— Kate Connolly (@connollyberlin) September 20, 2019

Climate activist Robin Wood performing the most precarious feat of the day so far by hanging over the A100 Berlin motorway under the banner “clean cars - a pure lie”

— Kate Connolly (@connollyberlin) September 20, 2019

Strikes take place across Africa

Strikes are planned for at least seven Nigerian cities, such as Lagos, which is clogged by mountains of toxic waste including thousands of tons of e-waste from the EU, particularly the UK and Germany. There will be a protest in Port Harcourt, capital of the country’s oil-producing region, whose residents and their possessions have been covered in soot for the past few years, believed to be the result of destroying illegal oil refineries.

There will also be two protests against a proposed coal plant in San Pedro in Ivory Coast, while in Ghana, a group called Young Reporters for the Environment is leading a march from the city hall of the capital, Accra.

Next Friday, there will be a demonstration in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana’s Ashanti region. Ghana is losing its rainforests faster than any other country, with a 60% increase in primary forest loss from 2017 to 2018.

In Senegal, there are marches in Rufisque and Thies this Friday, a climate camp in Kaolack on Sunday, followed by a demonstration against a new coal plant in Bargny, and a march in the capital, Dakar on the 27th. Air pollution in Dakar is causing more and more respiratory problems, in large part because of “dirty”, sulphur-laden diesel.


Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot have helped produce a short film highlighting the need to protect, restore and use nature to tackle the climate crisis.

Berlin’s main transport line, the S-Bahn, has virtually ground to a halt this morning due to a major engineering breakdown leaving many protesters stranded and unable to reach the protest. Participants are being encouraged to take their bikes instead. Many have pointed out the irony.

Meanwhile, at the Brandenburg Gate, scene of the main protest in Berlin that is due to kick off just before noon, protesters have been organised into neat blocks.


Apart from the huge crowds of protesters, the other uplifting piece of climate news today is that onshore wind has just became the cheapest source of energy in the UK. Industry analysts can’t believe how quickly the price has fallen. This shows the transition away from fossil fuels is much more affordable than people dared hope five years ago.

On the business side of things, also encouraging to note efforts by companies with a green reputation, who seem to be competing to do more by selling less.

The Patagonia outdoor clothing store will close all its European outlets today and next Friday so staff can join the protests. Ben & Jerry’s and Lush also shutting today.

Burton, the winter sports chain, is giving workers a paid day off to join the strike and have halted online sales for 24 hours. The company’s webpage today reads “Closed for business. Open for action. Let’s protect our playground.”


In London, where big crowds are expected to gather near Westminster from 11am, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has thrown his weight behind today’s strikes.

He told the Guardian this morning he fully supports schools across the city who are “working with pupils and allowing them time, without sanction, to peacefully and lawfully join the strikes today”.

“It is unbelievable that we need strike action for the future of our planet to be taken seriously by government’s around the world,” he said.

“I fully support the thousands of young people peacefully and lawfully protesting around the country today who feel so strongly about the climate change emergency and I share their frustration. The stark reality is we are running out of time for meaningful change. The climate crisis is one of the very biggest challenges we face – I have declared a climate emergency in London – and governments around the world are failing to take the action we need.”


Berlin has kicked off its Fridays For Future this morning with road blockades, cycle rallies and a demonstration in front of the cuboid
chancellery of Angela Merkel, where about 40 young people have unfurled a banner asking: “Return of the climate chancellor?”

Police remove plastic cordons as trucks and cars wait after climate activists blocked Jannowitz Bridge.
Police remove plastic cordons as trucks and cars wait after climate activists blocked Jannowitz Bridge. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

It’s an appeal to Merkel, once environment minister, to live up to the reputation she is seen to have squandered over everything from her support of the car industry to her refusal to back a phase-out of brown coal mining.

They are keen to pressurise her coalition government ahead of the launch of its much-awaited package of climate emergency measures which the cabinet has spent the night negotiating and is due to launch early this afternoon. The protesters are chanting: ”Wir sind hier, wir sind laut, weil Ihr uns die Zukunft raubt.“ –“We are here and we are loud, because you’re stealing our future”.

The main protest at the Brandenburg Gate is due to start just before noon.


A view from Germany: 400 protests have been announced across the country

When there is protest in Berlin, there is usually also techno, and from 3pm a “Rave Rebellion” march will depart from Potsdamer Platz square, under the motto “No Future No Dancefloor”. Extinction Rebellion has announced plans to block traffic at strategic points “where it will hurt drivers” around the capital.

Elsewhere, 400 protests have been announced across the country, which will likely attracts adults as well as children. An umbrella organisation that includes organisations such as “Psychologists for Future”, “Entrepreneurs for Future” and “Grandparents for Future” has called for people to join in, as has the services union Verdi and the German Protestant Church. “We stand side by side with Fridays for Future”, said Annette Kurschus, the president of the Protestant Church of Westphalia, “Planet Earth does not belong to us, it has only been entrusted in our care”.

Germany has two faces when it comes to the environment: the country that prides itself in its high recycling rates, phasing out nuclear power and pioneering renewable energies is still the world’s sixth biggest pollutant, with 865m tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018.

Borne out of this realisation, much of the recent debate in the country has focused on the phase-out of the country’s approximately 130 smoke-belching coal plants. The government wants to close them down by 2038 – too soon for many unions, especially in the coal-rich east, and too late for climate activists galvanised by Fridays for Future. In Europe’s “car nation”, air pollution through exhaust fumes is another contentious issue, with some cities having introduced driving bans for diesel cars last year.

The Fridays for Future protests have had a tangible effect on the political climate, with several polls earlier this year showing the Green party emerging as the strongest political force in the country. Many other parties have tried to copy its message, with even the arch-conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union calling for a coal phase-out by 2030, bans on plastic bags and new wind farms. Angela Merkel’s coalition government is expected to announce a plan for tackling climate change, rumoured to involve €75bn of investment by 2030, just in time for Friday’s climate strike.


A reminder of why people are striking

The planet’s average temperature started a steady climb two centuries ago, but has rocketed since the second world war as consumption and population has risen. Global heating means there is more energy in the atmosphere, making extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.

The consequences - global temperature rise


Heatwaves, droughts and floods are likely in the future if urgent action isn’t taken to stop climate change, experts warn.

It comes as strikes take place across the world on Friday, calling on governments to take immediate action on climate change. The demonstrates have been planned ahead of the landmark UN climate action summit in New York on 23 September

World leaders will discuss how they can reduce their carbon emissions with the aim of stopping global temperature rise from exceeding 1.5°C under the Paris agreement.

Prof Nigel Arnell, professor of climate system science at the University of Reading:

This week, the United Nations general assembly will be discussing how to encourage countries to be more ambitious in their targets to reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases. It’s clear that increased effort is needed if we are to avoid significant climate change impacts.

We’re probably already seeing some of the consequences of climate change – heatwaves, wildfires, unusually slow and intense hurricanes – and things will get much worse if we continue on our current path of increasing emissions.

We recently published a study showing the number of people exposed to major heatwaves would increase from 330 million per year now to up to 8 billion per year in 2050 – just 30 years away - the number people exposed to drought would increase from 400 million per year to up to 1 billion per year, and the number of people affected by flooding from major rivers would increase from 15 million per year now to up to 100 million per year. Reducing emissions now will reduce these impacts, but at the same time we also need to increase efforts to enhance resilience to the impacts that are inevitable following our emissions so far.”

Keith Shine, regius professor of meteorology and climate science at the University of Reading:

We are coming to the end of another decade. Each of the past four decades has, when averaged over the whole planet, been 0.1 to 0.2 degrees celsius warmer than the decade before; carbon dioxide levels have continued their relentless rise; and methane levels have grown much more rapidly than in the previous decade. Unless things start to change markedly over the coming decade, it is going to get harder and harder to meet the goals of the UN’s Paris agreement on climate change.”


Protests taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and capital of Gauteng province.

Johannesburg #climatestrike is being led by the powerful voices of young people calling for climate justice.

We have no choice but to act now if we are to protect our future. We must stand together with the youth to fight carbon capitalism.

— Alex Lenferna (@AlexLenferna) September 20, 2019

The Guardian environment journalist Fiona Harvey will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the climate crisis between 1.30 and 2.30pm BST. You can share your questions now via our form here, or in the comments below but please @Fiona so that they’ll be easier for us to find.


With hundreds of thousands of children joining the global youth strike in cities around the globe, Extinction Rebellion UK said it stands in solidarity with all those striking.

Caspar Hughes, 48, a Extinction Rebellion activist and father of school striker Max, 12, said: “Parents have left their children to clear up the climate and ecological crisis they have created. The youth should be out partying rather than protesting.”

Extinction Rebellion activists will join the strikes in London and are holding their own actions and performances. At 2.30pm, a concert will take place in Victoria Tower Gardens, London.


'The crisis is already here': young strikers facing climate apartheid

Jonathan Watts, the Guardian’s global environment editor, has written about young activists calling for north-south solidarity to the tackle climate emergency. He writes:

While previous generations failed to notice the slowly shifting baselines, today’s young will watch the sixth great wave of extinction accelerate before their eyes. Due to warming seas and acid bleaching, coral reef systems will flicker out one by one. Species that existed for millions of years will tip into the abyss. Among those closest to the edge are the black rhino, the Chinese giant salamander, the Siberian crane, the Western gorilla, the Ganges dolphin, Bactrian camels, Pygmi sloths and Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna. Thousands of species of insects, plants and amphibians may go extinct before they are discovered. For many young people today, their only chance of seeing unspoiled beaches, savannahs, reefs and forests will be on old documentaries, 3D interactives or their grandparents’ holiday videos. Picturesque landscapes that defined communities and nations will be transformed.

Read the full article here.


The climate change strikes have spread far and wide, including the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Amazing photos coming in from the Solomon Islands where they’re kicking off the Global #ClimateStrikes.

— Jamie Henn (@Agent350) September 20, 2019


By William Yang in Taipei

In Taiwan, dozens of representatives from primary schools, high schools, and universities gathered in the capital, Taipei, to launch a petition called “Fridays for the future”. The aim of it is to press candidates in the upcoming presidential election to lay out concrete policies to mitigate climate change risks that Taiwan faces.

Some held signs that said: “It’s getting hot in here” and “Don’t drop it like it’s hot”, after popular song lyrics.

Student activists spoke on stage, sharing their personal reasons for joining the global campaign to fight climate change. Wei Hung-zhan, aged nine, said: “Our future has been sacrificed by the older generation.”

He asked: “Why hasn’t the older generation remembered to share earth’s resources with the next generation?”

Students said that they planned to mail their petitions to each presidential candidate’s office and ask politicians to provide complete responses to their demands through online live-broadcasts in a month. The event’s organiser Chang Li-Wen said: “The only candidate who cares about Taiwan’s future is the person who proposes a complete set of climate change policies.”

Over the next week, a series of climate change events are scheduled across Taiwan, including major rallies in Taipei and Kaohsiung on 27 September.


People are taking to the streets in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, in southern Asia. Climate change in Bangladesh is a pressing issue. According to National Geographic, Bangladesh is one the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change.

#ClimateStrike in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 💪🇧🇩

— 350 dot org (@350) September 20, 2019

Protests today: 100 rallies in Australia, and 800 events set to take place in the US

Millions are marching across the globe in what could be the largest climate protest in history.

The first of the worldwide protests took place in Australia, where an estimated 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 rallies calling for action to guard against climate change. Other demonstrations were held across parts of Asia.

In the UK, children and young people across the country will walk out of lessons and lectures They will be joined by hundreds of thousands of workers. The school strikes movement was sparked by the teenage activist Greta Thunberg who demonstrated at the Swedish parliament.

The first large-scale protests of Friday’s “global climate strike” took place in Sydney and Canberra, with demonstrators calling on leaders in Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to take more drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Similar rallies are planned for around the world, with 800 events set to take place in the US and 400 in Germany.

The protests come ahead of a climate summit at the UN next week convened by the secretary general, António Guterres, to urge countries to up their climate efforts. Much stronger measures are needed across the globe to prevent temperature rises of more than 1.5C (2.7F) or 2C (3.6F) to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is unbelievable that we should need global strike action for the future of our planet to be taken seriously. The stark reality is that our climate is changing rapidly and we are running out of time to address it.

“I hope governments around the world who are failing to take action hear the voices of millions of people, young and old, unified in their call for action to save our planet. Our future depends on it.”


The problem - rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

The level of CO2 has been rising since the industrial revolution and is at its highest for about 4 million years. The rate of the rise is even more striking – the fastest for 66m years – with scientists saying we are in “uncharted territory”.

Atmospheric CO2


Strikes are also taking place in Uganda, east Africa.

Today we rise. @JacobOulanyah. Today the children rise.The @LilGreenHandsUg children rise up for the kind of future they want to inherit. A Green Sustainabile future! #ClimateStrike #GoGreenUg

— Joseph Masembe (@JosephMasembe1) September 20, 2019

They are also under way in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

#ClimateStrikeKE underway in Nairobi. Young climate activists demand action against global warming. Demand that the Kenyan government tops plans for a coal power plant. #SABCNews

— Sarah Kimani (@sarahkimani) September 20, 2019

Our planet is in trouble. That’s why we in Nairobi are all coming together to defend it against the #ClimateEmergency. Stand in solidarity with us by sharing this with your friends and family.#ClimateStrike #ClimateStrikeKE

— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) September 20, 2019

🇰🇪 “I had a heart-to-heart with our Mother (Nature) and she said to me, son, you need me more than I need you.”

Activists rally in Nairobi, Kenya as the #GlobalClimateStrike makes its way to Africa #CoveringClimateNow #ClimateStrike

— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019


What is happening in Italy?

Events in Italy will be held throughout the coming week, culminating with demonstrations in more than 100 cities on Friday 27 September.

“Italian schools only went back last week and we needed some time to plan and mobilise, so we voted to hold the major demonstrations on the 27th,” said David Wicker, a representative of the Turin branch of Fridays for Future Italia.

More than 470,000 people took part in the first global climate strike in Italy on 15 March and a similar number is expected to join next week’s demonstrations. Though Italy’s greenhouse gas emissions have been decreasing over the past decade, the country was criticised this year by the European Climate Foundation for failing to provide an adequate plan to further reduce emissions and dependency on fossil fuels.

Activists are hoping Italy’s new left-leaning coalition will take concrete action and fulfil its pledge of making environmental issues a priority.

“They need to entirely cut the subsidies and investments going to the fossil fuel industry,” said Wicker, aged 14. “And we need to start immediate investment in green energy to help society have an ecological transition.”

Young activists for Fridays for Future in Turin, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, have been holding the local authority to account over its environmental policies.

“The town hall gives us feedback every two months and we give this information to scientists, who will say whether anything is really being done or not,” said Wicker.


A view from France: 'Smashing the status quo requires the involvement of everyone'

Emmanuel Macron’s government has set the object of making France carbon-neutral by 2050. However, greenhouse gas emissions have risen in the country since 2015, and in 2017 were said to be 7% above official targets. Climate change activists say Macron has gone back on promises.

Sceptics doubt claims the government would renovate 500,000 buildings a year to use less energy and are angry at what is seen as bowing to the powerful agriculture lobby over pesticides.

Meanwhile, it is the mainstream centre-right that has proven most resistant to Greta Thunberg’s appeals. The announcement that the Swedish teenager was to address the French assemblée nationale in July provoked outbursts of indignation and insults from opposition MPs.

“Don’t expect me to be applauding a prophet in short trousers,” tweeted one. Others appealed for a boycott of her address. Le Monde pointed out French climate change sceptics were no longer attacking the message but the messenger and pointed to a “smear campaign” against Thunberg.

After a slow start – an action that involved only 150 protesters in February in Nantes, reports suggest 56 organisations, ecology associations and social rights groups in France plan to demonstrate on Friday and Saturday.

Youth for Climate France has organised a number of marches across France, and youngsters cave called on adults to join their action. They urged citizens: “Strike for the climate, which means above all leave your home, your office, your farm or your factory. Smashing the status quo requires the involvement of everyone: sportsmen and women, actors, teachers, food industry workers, psychologists, delivery people, it doesn’t matter. Whatever our position, we can all bring our stone to the building by refusing to accept the status quo.”

In Paris, a march will begin at Place de la Nation and finish with a gathering at Parc de Bercy with workshops, conferences and “citizens’ meetings”. Several French unions including the powerful CFDT and CGT have issued calls for joint mobilisation. The action group Libérons le Louvre (Liberate the Louvre) is planning an action at the museum in protest at its long-standing partnership with the petrol group Total.

French President Emmanuel Macron

Last year, black-clad members of the ecology association lay down in one of the Louvre’s galleries in protest at Total’s financial support of the museum, which dates back more than 20 years and which Louvre officials say has funded “exhibitions, renovations, educational and cultural activities and social actions”.

Among the specific demands of French climate activists is that the French national education system introduces the teaching of the “environmental situation” and that France and the European Union officially declare a state of “climate, environmental and social” emergency.

In France, a second day of protests on Saturday is planned to mark World CleanUp Day.


A government minister said he cannot endorse children leaving school to take part in the climate strikes.

Minister for business, energy and clean growth Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Breakfast on Friday that he supported the “energy and creativity” of students but said time spent in school was “incredibly important”.

Kwasi Kwarteng

When asked if the government was listening to the young protesters, he said: “Their voices are being heard ... What I do support is their energy, their creativity, and the fact that they have completely mastered these issues and take them very seriously.

“I am not going to endorse people leaving school because I think education, time spent in school is incredibly important.”

Here are the final exclusive Twitter figures for the climate strike in Australia.

This has been your day on #climatestrike, Australia! No1 trending in Australia for 8hrs, and current top 7 trends all related to @strikeclimate:
1. #ClimateStrike
2. #schoolstrike4climate
3. #ClimateAction
4. #FridaysForFuture
5. Treasury Gardens
6. Hobart
7. #notbusinessasusual

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019

And this is what the school strike conversation has looked like on Twitter in the past three days leading up to today’s demonstrations:

Australia & Pacific are done, now the world picks up the #GlobalClimateStrike light. This is what the #schoolstrike4climate conversation has looked like on Twitter in the past 3 days leading up to the #ClimateStrike!

Global live coverage continues here:

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019

There is a lot planned for South Africa today, with demonstrations in Johannesburg, the commercial capital, on the south-eastern coast in Durban, in Pretoria, and in Cape Town, where there’ll be a march on parliament.

Ayakha Melithafa, 17, said she would be joining the global strike in Cape Town.The march won’t start until early afternoon to allow students to finish most of the school day.

“We’ll be marching to parliament to demand that the government take this issue seriously. It needs to declare a climate emergency here in South Africa, and a moratorium on coal, gas and oil mining licences. They have just ignored the problem so far,” Melithafa said.

South Africa is one of the continent’s most developed economies and relies heavily on coal powered energy generation. It is building new and very big coal-fired power stations.

“We have arranged with our teachers to leave early. it is up to us. We are the leaders of today. We don’t just want the system to change. We want a brand new system which will help us live sustainably with a bright new future,” Melithafa said.


A roundup of what is happening around Europe on Friday:


Youth for Climate France has organised a number of marches across the country, and youngsters cave called on adults to join their action. In Paris, a march will begin at Place de la Nation and finish with a gathering at Parc de Bercy with workshops, conferences and “citizens’ meetings”. A second day of protests on Saturday are planned to mark World CleanUp Day.


More than 470,000 people took part in the first global climate strike in Italy on 15 March and a similar number is expected to join next Friday’s demonstrations.


Nearly 500 climate change demonstrations are planned across Germany on Friday. In Berlin, several demonstrations will take place throughout the day. The Fridays for Future gathering starts at noon at the Brandenburg Gate under the motto: “Everyone for the climate.” Organisers expect 10,000 people.


Why is this week important?

The strikes take place ahead of the UN general assembly and the climate action summit on 23 September. The summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organisations to develop ambitious solutions.

The world’s leaders will converge on New York for the assembly, where each is given an (unenforced) time limit of 15 minutes to speak in front of the green marble podium. Leaders occupy positions in the hall in alphabetical order by country name, usually with a different nation occupying the first seat each year.

General assembly week usually makes news in the first day or two, when the US president and other powerful heads of state tend to have their moment, and then attention tends to tail off. For that reason, there is always some horse trading before the general assembly week, with prime ministers from big countries trying to swap speaking slots with presidents of small countries.


Are you taking part in a climate strike or marking the day in any way? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you’re doing and where and share any photos and videos via our reader call out here. If you prefer you can also share via WhatsApp by adding the contact +44(0)7867825056. Only the Guardian will see your responses and we will include some of your stories in our ongoing coverage.

Activists on bicycles block traffic at Ernst-Reuter-Platz square in Berlin, Germany, as they take part in the global climate strike today.

activists in berlin


There will be a “special takeover” of Channel 4’s usual evening weather report today, as the network joins the world’s largest climate strike. The channel’s social media accounts will also join the walkout, bosses said, and will be going on strike between 9.30am and 5.30pm.

Additionally, continuity announcers will share facts drawn from World Meteorological Organisation research throughout the day on Channel 4. No details were given on the nature of the weather forecast’s “special takeover”.
Across Britain, thousands will take part in a march. Worldwide, campaigners say there are more than 3,400 events planned in 120 countries, with numbers taking part expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 million people who took part in the global strike in March.


The outdoor apparel brand Patagonia is closing every store worldwide to encourage employees and customers to join the climate strike.

Demonstrators from more than 150 countries are expected to put pressure on governments and decision-makers to do more about climate issues.

The strikes come ahead of the United Nations climate change summit, which begins on 23 September.

Patagonia store.

While in the UK and many other countries the strike is taking place today, in some countries such as Italy and the Netherlands the strike is happening next Friday, 27 September.

Explaining the decision to close stores, Ryan Gellert, the general manager, EMEA, Patagonia, said: “The climate crisis is a human issue – affecting all of us ... As a global business, we will be closing our stores on 20 and 27 September, striking with the youth activists and calling for governments around the world to take action.”


The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will today thank young people for educating the world about the climate crisis. Speaking at the youth climate strike, Corbyn will also criticise the prime minister, Boris Johnson, for calling global warming a “primitive fear”.

Jeremy Corbyn

He is expected to say:

To the young people leading by example today here and across the world, I want to say thank you: thank you for educating us about the climate crisis and the emergency of species extinction and biodiversity loss.

I know the situation can look bleak. We have a prime minister that has called global warming a ‘primitive fear without foundation’. The US president is a full-blown climate denier, putting our planet in danger by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. And the Amazon is on fire, looted by big corporations with a Brazilian president watching on who doesn’t care.

But when we see young people demanding urgent action, it’s an inspiration. When I see this movement growing – and it’s growing every day – I know we can tackle the climate emergency.

The next Labour government will welcome your pressure and hear your demands for change. We will kick-start a green Industrial revolution and protect our planet, so it’s there to give life and joy to generations to come.”


I will be picking up the live blog from the Guardian’s London offices. Please share any photographs or comments from where you are with me:


I’ll be handing over the blog now to my colleague Sarah Marsh. There are still hundreds of places, thousands of students and hours of protest to come.

Stay with us as the strikes sweep across Asia, Africa and Europe, and into the Americas. There will also be plenty more Australian news and analysis to come.

To recap what we’ve seen across Asia and the Pacific today:

  • At least 300,000 people have taken part in the largest climate strike across Australia yet.
  • Melbourne’s event drew 100-150,000 people, and Sydney’s 80-100,000. Hobart’s 22,000 attendees made it Tasmania’s biggest ever strike action.
  • Hundreds of regional centres joined in – from Alice Springs, Byron Bay and Katherine.
  • As part of Guardian Australia’s coverage, the federal energy minister, the opposition energy spokesman and two of the country’s biggest energy companies took questions from students.
  • In Vanuatu, the deputy prime minister spoke directly to the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as countries “to blame for this threat to our survival”.
  • Protests also unfolded in the Solomon Islands, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Pakistan and more.

22000 people in Hobart, Tasmania... And this is Sydney still gathering!!!#ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 20, 2019


As our Australian coverage wraps up, here’s a great round-table discussion from some Brisbane students.

"That was insane!": Post-#climatestrike debrief with Lestyn Harries (13), Owynn Harries (11), Haemish Lander-McBride (13), Oscar Lander-McBride (10) Zachary Brown (13) and Jackson Warren (13).

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019


This from the headmaster of Sydney's Newington College, on why he allowed his students to attend #ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture

— Amy Coopes (@coopesdetat) September 20, 2019

We have 3 demands:
1. No new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine.
2. 100% renewable energy generation, and exports by 2030
3. Fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel workers and communities#ClimateStrike

— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) September 20, 2019

They’ve finally started marching in Melbourne. And here’s our video wrap of the thousands on the streets today.


More from Lisa Cox in Melbourne

Edie Shepherd, a Wiradjuri and Noongar woman, spoke to the crowd earlier. She said she’d recently visited communities in the Lake Woods region in the NT, an area that gas companies are proposing to frack.

“While Lake Woods usually flows with water, this time it ran dry,” she said.

As well as students, unions are here today. Sam Davis is a member of the National Union of Workers and was here with his young family.

“We want to show that climate justice is very important to workers as well. A lot of our workers are going to be impacted by climate change in the near future too,” he says.

“The values we have as unionists are why I’ve brought my kids.”


They’ve started in Mumbai:

#GlobalClimateStrike has started.. children demanding for #ClimateEmergency .. 'we want more trees!' #ActNow for their future! Join us take #ClimateAction @GretaThunberg @MumbaiMirror @350 @FFFIndia

— Fridays for future_Mumbai 🇮🇳 (@fffmumbai1) September 20, 2019

In Pakistan:

The first of 3 climate protests planned for #Mardan has started! #ClimateMarchPakistan

— Climate Action Now! → Pakistan (@ClimateActionPk) September 20, 2019

While in Melbourne, the crowd is so big it’s going to take a few more hours:

The #Melbourne Naarm crowd so massive at #ClimateStrike we march back to the start and half the crowd hasn't even left!

— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) September 20, 2019

If you’re waking up in Europe and the UK, then here is where you can find a protest near you:

And here’s First Dog’s last cartoon for today:

First Dog on the Moon
First Dog on the Moon Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon

Organisers claim 300,000 climate protesters in Australia

The organisers of the School Strike For Climate have estimated more than 300,000 people took to the streets across Australia today.

More than double the number of Australians who rallied at climate strikes in March came out today, with an estimated 100,000 in Melbourne, 80,000 in Sydney, 30,000 in Brisbane, 20,000 in Hobart, 15,000 in Canberra, 10,000 in Perth and 10,000 in Adelaide, not to mention the other more than 100 events in non-capital cities and towns.

Organisations striking included 33 Australian unions, 2,500 businesses including Atlassian, Canva, Domain and Intrepid, and faith institutions including the Anglican Church & Uniting Church, they said.

More than 30,000 people rallied in Brisbane.
More than 30,000 people rallied in Brisbane. Photograph: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images
An estimated 80,000 people pack the Domain in Sydney for the climate strike, Australia.
An estimated 80,000 people pack the Domain in Sydney for the climate strike, Australia. Photograph: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian


There are well over 100,000 people here in Melbourne and organisers are talking about 150,000.

Niamh, 17, from Castlemaine told the crowd: “I fight for climate justice because everyone deserves a safe future. The government is not supporting it yet, but together we will change that.”

Freya, 16, from Melbourne said: “The climate crisis is a human and global issue, and we need to act now.”

The students spoke about recent natural disasters around the world, including massive wildfires in the Amazon and the early bushfires that have caused devastation in Queensland and NSW. “This is predicted to get a lot worse if we don’t act now,” Niamh said.

The students then spoke about the demands of young people striking today, which include the complete phase-out of fossil fuels. The students have gone to great lengths to talk about the need to secure the futures of workers in fossil fuel-intensive industries, whose livelihoods will be affected as economies become carbon-neutral.

Freya said: “We understand the role fossil fuels have played in putting food on the table for families. It’s vital we all work together, not against one another. It’s not about jobs v the environment.”

Everyone looks so nice in the sunshine #climatestrike

— Luke Henriques-Gomes (@lukehgomes) September 20, 2019

Melbourne's poster game is strong #ClimateStrike

— Jordan Fennell (@jordaaaye) September 20, 2019


Tens if not hundreds of thousands packed out Sydney’s Domain park in the CBD.

Moemoana, 18, has come from Wollongong to the protest, and her homeland is Samoa. She’s here with members of the Matavai Pacific cultural centre.

“I’ve come to fight for the Pacific. The Pacific Islands are [only] metres above sea level because of climate change and it’s a scary future for our islands. We want to urge people to take some action.

“Seas are rising [in] Pacific Islands, especially Tuvalu and Kiribati, it’s a real threat, and Australia needs to know that Pacifika are neighbours and Australia really needs to help out.

18-year-old Moemoana, (centre) has come from Wollongong to the protest, and her homeland is Samoa.
“It’s a real threat and Australia needs to know that Pacifika are neighbours and Australia really needs to help out."#climatestrike

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019

17-year-old protest organiser Daisy spoke of the third demand of the campaign: funding a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel workers and communities.

“We need solutions that care for people and our planet,” she said.

“Climate justice is not about jobs versus the environment. Just as climate change hurts people, unemployment hurts people.”

She said too many people were already suffering and would suffer if governments did not find solutions.

“If our government cares about all of us then they need to get on with the job of stopping any new coal, oil and gas projects, powering Australia with 100% renewable energy by no later than 2030, and doing all this while funding just transition and jobs for all fossil fuel workers and their communities so that no one is left behind.”

Marlie Thomas, a Kamilaroi teenager from Gunnedah, said she was attending the rally on the authority of her elders, not the Department of Education.

“I’ve had to help collect bottled water for our family in Walgett,” she said.

Former federal MP and City of Sydney councillor Kerryn Phelps told Guardian Australia cities “need to play their part when it comes planning for the future and mitigating climate change”.

“That includes our own operations, working with businesses and residents, providing incentives to people to reduce their carbon footprint, to encourage active public transport, to encourage renewable sources of energy.

“And because of the sheer size of the population, not only do they contribute so much to climate change risk but they also have the most, I think, to offer. Obviously we’ve got the agriculture sector, which needs to play its part, the transport sector, but individuals also can do so much themselves.”


So far

With the Australian strikes not even half over in many places, here’s what has happened so far:

  • Hundreds of thousands have participated in the largest climate strike across Australia yet: more than 100 locations, from capital cities to regional centres such as Alice Springs, Byron Bay and Katherine.
  • In Sydney and Melbourne crowds were estimated at 80,000 to 150,000 respectively, making them the biggest demonstrations since the Iraq war. In Tasmania 22,000 marchers made it the biggest strike action the state had ever seen.
  • As part of Guardian Australia’s coverage, the federal energy minister, the opposition energy spokesman and two of the country’s biggest energy companies took questions from students.
  • In Vanuatu, the deputy prime minister spoke directly to the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as countries “to blame for this threat to our survival”.
  • Protests in the Solomon Islands, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and many more also continued throughout the day.


They’re marching in the Philippines, too.

HAPPENING NOW: March to J. Diokno Park, CHR, UP Diliman Complex

— Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines 🌏 (@youth4climatePH) September 20, 2019

We have reached the Commission on Human Rights! Join us here. #ClimateStrike #ClimateStrikePH #ParaSaKlimabukasan

— Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines 🌏 (@youth4climatePH) September 20, 2019


A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike.
A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike. Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon


Amazing #CoffsHarbour #ClimateStrike over 1400 people TRIPLE the March 15 #Schoolstrike4climate huge energy marching on Gumbaynggirr land for our kids future #ClimateJustice

— Liisa Rusanen (@liisa_sr) September 20, 2019

Justin McCurry in Japan writes:

Japan has suffered unseasonable, powerful and fatal storms in recent years that have also inflicted serious damage on its infrastructure. Last week’s typhoon was unusually strong, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. The country has also been hit by record-breaking heatwaves – one last summer killed 65 people in a single week.

Japan’s government had planned to expand nuclear power in an effort to tackle carbon dioxide emissions, but the Fukushima disaster changed all that. Pressure is building to invest more in renewables as the government expands coal-fired power stations and imports of gas and oil to fill the energy gap left by the post-Fukushima closure of dozens of nuclear reactors.

Japan’s involvement in the climate strike has been low key. This Friday adults and children belonging to the Fridays for Future Tokyo movement will gather outside the United Nations University in central Tokyo at 5pm, make speeches and then march through the streets of the capital. Just over 100 people turned up in March; students at Japanese state schools were noticeably absent and I think that will be the case this Friday.


A few protests have begun in Japan, and one is scheduled for Tokyo at 5pm local time.

It’s Friday morning in Japan. Climate strike in Hiroshima just started! Please follow us! @gretathunberg #fridayforfuture #climatestrike #globalstrikeforfuture #fridayforfuture #Hiroshima #prayformotherearth #strikewithus #気候マーチ #グローバルマーチ

— あーす・じぷしー公式 (@earthgypsy424) September 20, 2019


I cannot stress enough that my favourite thing from today is students on the ground interviewing their fellow strikers.

Here is Oscar Lander-McBride, 10, interviewing Zac, 13.

Oscar interviews Zac who is losing his voice after leading the crowds in chants at the Brisbane #ClimateStrike. “It’s so great, chanting with all the other people for what we think is right”.

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019

And from earlier, Esther Plummer, 13, interviewing Jasper, 15.

Esther Plummer (13 years old) interviews fellow climate strikerJasper (15 years old) about why he is attending the #ClimateStrike in Byron Bay.

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019


There are more than 100,000 people in Melbourne, according to organisers.

Melbourne 2:30pm #ClimateStrike

— Erin Dolan (@erin_dolan) September 20, 2019

Ahead of today's #ClimateStrike, The Guardian asked some primary school kids what they think climate change is.

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 19, 2019

Video of the crowds at the Brisbane #ClimateStrike thanks to our reporter on the ground @BenSmee

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019

An aerial view of Melbourne, only 30 minutes in.

#climatestrike just starting to build in #Melbourne, I'm sure we will see this build and build over the next hour.

— Stephen Torsi (@STorsi) September 20, 2019

And here’s the march crossing Brisbane’s Victoria bridge:

Here they come. #ClimateStrike protesters making their way over the Victoria Bridge in Brisbane @abcnews @abcbrisbane

— Jessica van Vonderen (@jessvanvonderen) September 20, 2019


In Bali:

Marching for the climate in Bali.
Marching for the climate in Bali. Photograph: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

In Singapore:

It’s a climate emergency! A shop in Singapore closes for the march.
It’s a climate emergency! A shop in Singapore closes for the march. Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images


And in Brisbane who better to give a crowd estimate than Haemish Lander-McBride, 13, who has been to the past two strikes.

“It’s massive in comparison to the other ones ... People aren’t just going to the first one – people are really coming again and again and again.”

"It’s not something we’re gonna give up on" says 13-year-old Haemish Lander-McBride at the Brisbane #ClimateStrike

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019


And big crowds in Adelaide:

This is huge #ClimateStrike #Adelaide

— Jarni Blakkarly (@JarniBlakkarly) September 20, 2019

Incredible turnout in Adelaide for #ClimateStrike reminder: we’ve only got one shot.

— Leon (@LeonCermak) September 20, 2019


An estimated 10,000 in Perth:

Absolutely incredible crowd of at least 10,000 people here in Perth for the #GlobalClimateStrike

I’m blown away! #schoolstrike4climate

— Senator Jordon Steele-John (@Jordonsteele) September 20, 2019


Mike Bowers in Canberra:

Climate strike in Glebe Park Canberra @GuardianAus

— Mikearoo (@mpbowers) September 20, 2019


It’s just past 2pm, which is the official start time in Melbourne. But as we saw in Sydney, crowds are so huge there are lines to get in.

This is the crowd trying to get in to Treasury Gardens in Melbourne. #ClimateStrike

— Calla Wahlquist (@callapilla) September 20, 2019

It’ll take a while to get into full swing.


Early crowd numbers out of Sydney: 50,000 to 80,000 people at least.

Police have confirmed at least 50,000 people at the Sydney #climatestrike. May be more, considering capacity at The Domain is 80,000 and it was chockers.

— Jenny Noyes (@jennynoise) September 20, 2019


More from First Dog:

A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike.
A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike. Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon
A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike.
A First Dog on the Moon sketch for the climate strike. Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon


Over on 2GB in Sydney and 4BC in Brisbane this morning Alan Jones was keeping a sceptical eye on the climate strike. “If you ask some of these people what it was about they wouldn’t have a clue,” Jones said without actually asking any of the strikers that question.

An elderly caller suggested the children’s minds were being manipulated just like those of the Hitler Youth in Germany decades ago.

Warming to the theme, Jones had a Goebbels quote on hand: “I will remind our listeners that his minister of propaganda ,Joseph Goebbels, also said it would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and the psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words and words can be moulded until they clothe ideas in disguise. This is what’s going on here isn’t it? Immensely disturbing I have to say. Immensely disturbing.”


Former Queensland Greens senator Andrew Bartlett has this estimate:

Ive been to 100s of rallies over the years. I’m certain today’s #Strike4Climate is easily the biggest protest in #Brisbane since the main rally against the Iraq war in 2003.

— Andrew Bartlett (@AndrewBartlett) September 20, 2019

Similar thoughts in Sydney:

Hard to estimate numbers from where I am, but definitely looks like the biggest one in Sydney since the stop the war one in 2003

— Ben Cubby (@bencubby) September 20, 2019


The Brisbane rally keeps growing. People are still streaming in 30 minutes after the posted start time and police have had to shut roads on two sides of Queens Park. Hard to guess at a crowd figure, but comfortably over 10,000 at this point.

This is not, of course, an anti-government rally, but there’s certainly no love for the coal embrace of the Queensland government. And notably, there are at least a half dozen left-wing unions here.

The Electrical Trades Union has just taken a swipe, officials complaining the government has let the private sector do the heavy lifting on renewables, and giving a strong endorsement of climate action.

Pacific climate warriors: “I have a right to set foot on my islands... to see its beauty and everything it has to give. My generation and generations to come have a right to stand on the same soil our ancestors did.”#ClimateStrike #sydney

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019

Rebecca Ratcliffe in Delhi writes:

Students protesters in India have a long list of demands for their political leaders. The air in many of its cities is infamously toxic, poor waste management is putting lives at risk and water shortages have reached crisis levels.

Last year India was ranked among the bottom five countries on the environmental performance index produced by Yale and Columbia universities and the World Economic Forum.

“We are in September now and we would be usually subjected to monsoon rains at this time but the rainfall is so erratic,” said Jacintha Thota, 14, who lives in Hyderabad.

On Friday 200 students from her school and some of their teachers are expected to march together. Hyderabad is one of tens of locations, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, where protests are expected to take place.

The Fridays for Future movement is much smaller than other more established environmental campaigns in India, but students say it is growing in popularity, thanks partly to social media.

In Delhi protesters are planning seven days of action, which includes marching to the ministry of urban affairs and housing on Friday. On Sunday protesters will meet at Bhalswa landfill, the second biggest dump yard in the city, while next week they will protest at other key political buildings.

Bhavreen Kandhari, an environmental activist from Fridays For Future India will take part. “We have beautiful laws on the paper but none of it is being executed,” she said.

Five years ago, when her daughters had an X-ray, she discovered the impact of Delhi’s pollution. “Their lungs were black in colour; they should be pink. For a child who is born and brought up in Delhi for 10 years this is the damage that they suffer,” she said. Her twin daughters, 15, will also be attending the march in Delhi.

“The rich think ‘Oh I’ll put a mask on my child’, ‘I’ll get an air purifier’, and the poorest they can barely make two meals [a day].”


Big turnout in Thailand – and a reminder that many of the protests in Asia will be kicking into gear soon as well.

We are walking to the Ministry of Resources and Environment to demand a safe climate 🔥🌎#FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeThailand #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency

— Greenpeace Thailand 🌏 (@greenpeaceth) September 20, 2019

Wait no, maybe this one:

The Melbourne #ClimateStrike starts in Treasury Gardens soon. Fatima, 19: “Whatever we do in the next few months will decide what the future is going to look like.

“We can put our all in to switch to renewables and go down a greener path, or it’s going to be bad for everyone.”

— Lisa Cox (@_LisaMCox) September 20, 2019


Calling the winner now

Some @lizzo vibes at Sydney climate strike. #schoolstrike4climate #sydney #sign

— Dan Ilic (@danilic) September 20, 2019

Meanwhile the Brisbane protest has broken its banks and people are streaming down the streets.

Queens Park can no longer hold the Brisbane #ClimateStrike

— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) September 20, 2019

Brisbane #ClimateStrike

— Drew Pavlou (@DrewPavlou) September 20, 2019


There’s already a crowd at Treasury Gardens for the Melbourne school strike which kicks off at 2pm. Thea Hamilton, 16, is one of the organisers.

“I’m really excited and hopefully we’ll be able to get some really good action out of this and get more people involved in climate action and climate justice,” she says.

She says young people “are looking for a space to be heard and to really feel represented by this global movement so we can call for climate action at the UN global climate summit on the 23rd”.


Q&A from EnergyAustralia

Continuing our series. EnergyAustralia has agreed to take a question from a climate striker. Along with Queensland’s Stanwell Corporation, it is the other one of Australia’s top 10 carbon emitters to agree to take a question.

Josh O’Callaghan, 15, from Adelaide asks:

What are the future initiatives that your company plans to put in place to have 100% renewable energy production?

Mark Collette, the head of EnergyAustralia’s customer business:

Thanks Josh. Designing and building a 100% renewable energy system is a huge challenge for Australia. I think Australians are up for the challenge. Your home state of South Australia has solar and wind already providing over half of the electricity supplied to South Australians.

In planning for 100% renewables, the first 50% is easier than the second 50%. Solar and wind generation follow the sun and the wind, so when it is not sunny and windy we can’t produce power for customers.

I reckon that above about 50% renewables for Australia we need to find ways to move the power from the sun and the wind to dark and still times, or use it immediately.

One way we do this is storage. Already we have two of the largest batteries in the country in Victoria, and we are working on two large pumped hydro projects – one of which is in your state of South Australia.

Another way we are exploring is helping customers use power when it is available from the sun and the wind. We can time pool pumps and hot water systems to run just through these times.

There’s a long way to go but we like tackling tough problems, like the second 50%.”


In Sydney Daisy, 17, tells the crowd their frustration has never been about people working in the fossil-fuel industry. Their demand is “about acting to halt this crisis while creating safe and meaningful work for all of us”.


— kymtje (@kymtje) September 20, 2019


And let’s not forget the regions.

More photos from Lismore from Frewoini Baume:

They’re showing their passion in Lismore.
They’re showing their passion in Lismore. Photograph: Freiwoni Baume
Marchers out in force in Lismore.
Marchers out in force in Lismore. Photograph: Freiwoni Baume

And these beautiful pictures from Katherine in the NT:

The crowds gather in Katherine.
The crowds gather in Katherine. Photograph: Charlotte Pickering, Tom Browell and Alena Goldbach
Walking the walk and talking the talk in Katherine.
Walking the walk and talking the talk in Katherine. Photograph: Charlotte Pickering, Tom Browell and Alena Goldbach
Taking advantage of some shade in Katherine.
Taking advantage of some shade in Katherine. Photograph: Charlotte Pickering, Tom Browell and Alena Goldbach
Students march for the climate in Katherine.
Students march for the climate in Katherine. Photograph: Charlotte Pickering, Tom Browell and Alena Goldbach

And here’s Albury:

Good turn out for #ClimateStrike in #Albury

— Dr Juliette Milbank (@juliettemilbank) September 20, 2019


The crowd in Sydney is getting so big you can really only see it from the air.

From a different angle.

— Jonathan Pryke (@jonathan_pryke) September 20, 2019

Perth and Canberra aren’t too shabby either:

Perth climate strike #ClimateStrike

— Paul Castle (@SleeperPService) September 20, 2019

Amazing to join colleagues and friends at #schoolstrike4climate in #Canberra today - proud of a community standing for a safe climate future @EnergyEstate

— Simon Corbell (@SimonCorbell) September 20, 2019


The biggest strike Tasmania has ever seen

This is the third nationwide climate strike in Australia – after November 2018 and March 2019. They get bigger every time.

Organisers say there are some 22,000 people at Hobart’s global climate rally - they say this is the biggest strike action Tasmania has ever seen @abchobart

— Phoebe Hosier (@HosierPhoebe) September 20, 2019

Amelia Neylon, 16, is on the ground and tells Guardian Australia:

The crowd is reportedly over 22,000. Bob Brown at this count has said it is larger then the Franklin River rally. Making this the largest rally in Tasmania held to date.


It’s all happening.

Brisbane. #ClimateStrike

— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) September 20, 2019

Lots of babies at this protest. They don’t even have jobs! #ClimateStrike

— Alex Lee (@alex_c_lee) September 20, 2019

Big turnout at Gosford #ClimateStrike (pic via my dad)

— Nick Evershed (@NickEvershed) September 20, 2019

The largest street protest in Hobart since the FRANKLIN River - 22,000 people demanding Climate Action Now #politas #ClimateStrike

— Rosalie Woodruff 🌿 (@rosaliewoodruff) September 20, 2019

Another must-watch, exclusive to Guardian Australia:

Harriet O'Shea Carre is one of the original school strikers from Castlemaine. She is in New York for the UN Climate Summit. Harriet is also seeking a meeting with @AIGinsurance to voice her concern over their involvement with the Adani coal mine. #ClimateStrike

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019

Meanwhile Australia’s strikes are making waves around the world:

Incredible pictures as Australia’s gathering for the #climatestrike
This is the huge crowd building up in Sydney.
Australia is setting the standard!
Its bedtime in New please share as many pictures as you can as the strikes move across Asia to Europe and Africa!

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 20, 2019


If you are Gen X or above, then you can laugh at the latest from First Dog on the Moon instead*:

“Sponsored post” for the climate strikes.
“Sponsored post” for the climate strikes. Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon

*This is a joke – First Dog is funny for all ages.


I’m a millennial / Gen Z so I understand these signs. If you don’t, rest assured they are very funny.

— Dr Internet Man (@ed_jenko) September 20, 2019


In Brisbane, here’s Parker with his message to the government – and a great poem.

How cool is Parker #climatestrike

— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) September 20, 2019


The award for best sign is getting more competitive every minute. Here is Matilda (3).

Three-year-old Matilda at the climate strike in Sydney with a Wiggles sign.
Three-year-old Matilda at the climate strike in Sydney with a Wiggles sign. Photograph: supplied


Sydney’s strikes have started but aren’t even at full swing, Melbourne’s starts in 1.5 hours, and preparations have begun in Perth.

Earlier today we saw huge turnouts in regional areas, including Alice Springs and Byron Bay.

Protesters have already started gathering in #Perth for today’s #ClimateStrike !!!

— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) September 20, 2019

Q&A from the energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor

Angus Taylor has also agreed to take a question.

From Josh O’Callaghan, 15, from Adelaide:

It is said that ‘if those who believe in climate change are wrong, we will have needlessly created a cleaner world, but if those who don’t believe in climate change are wrong, we will die’. Do you agree? If so, how should we act on this?

Angus Taylor :

The federal government is taking strong action to reduce global emissions and respond to the serious challenge of climate change.

The government’s $3.5bn climate solutions package sets out how we will meet our 2030 Paris target, down to the last tonne.

People are free to have their views, but my personal opinion is that students should be at school during school hours.”


Reporter Helen Davidson is on the ground in Sydney:

Clover Moore on the way to the Sydney #climatestrike “it’s so inspiring to see so many people heading towards the domain.”

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019

Rose from Glenmore Rd Paddington public school #climatestrike “the government has to stop doing nothing about climate change”

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019

Our first dispatches from Amelia Neylon in Hobart:

Photos and great signs from the Hobart #climatestrike from Amelia Neylon (16)

— Naaman Zhou (@naamanzhou) September 20, 2019

Meanwhile crowds build in Sydney. There is a LONG line to get in.

My son is in the Domain for the #ClimateStrike today. Here’s his first video

— Svetlana Stankovic (@SvetlaStankovic) September 20, 2019


Esther in Byron Bay has interviewed her fellow strikers. Must-watch.

Esther Plummer (13 years old) interviews fellow climate strikerJasper (15 years old) about why he is attending the #ClimateStrike in Byron Bay.

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019


First images in from Hobart:

A huge crowd has gathered on Hobart’s Parliament Lawns for the #ClimateStrike #politas

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) September 20, 2019

1000s here in Hobart #ClimateStrike

— Correna Haythorpe🌈 (@CHaythorpeAEU) September 20, 2019


Sydney’s strike is scheduled to start at noon.

Huge crowds are still making their way to the city. This could take some time and is looking immense.

Massive crowds heading to Sydney Domain for the #climatestrike #schoolsstrike4climate

— Stephanie H Convery (@gingerandhoney) September 20, 2019

Massive crowds building in #Sydney #ClimateStrike @SBSNews

— Abbie O'Brien (@AOBrien_news) September 20, 2019


Some footage from Thailand:

#FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeThailand #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency

— Greenpeace Thailand 🌏 (@greenpeaceth) September 20, 2019


Q&A from Labor's Mark Butler

Continuing our Q&A series is Labor’s spokesman on climate change and energy, Mark Butler.

Frewoini Baume, 18, from Lismore asks:

Permanent destruction for temporary economic gain is not a sustainable or stable economy. Why are you supporting the coal industry when it has been scientifically proven to be unsustainable? Yes, the economy may temporarily suffer but the longer you wait the more severe the impact. So why not act now?

Mark Butler:

The Labor party remains deeply committed to taking climate action to make sure that we comply with the commitments to future generations in the Paris agreement – to keep global warming way below 2 degrees and to pursue efforts around 1.5 degrees to make sure that we are at net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

There is no denying that Australia needs to drastically reduce its carbon emissions, but after coming down by more than 10% when Labor was last in office, emissions have been rising ever since the election of Tony Abbott, and the government’s own data shows they will keep rising all the way to 2030.

Australia doesn’t have a national climate policy. That is why we need to keep pressuring the Liberal government to take serious climate action.”


Some more charts, this time Australia-specific from our data editor, Nick Evershed:

This first shows warming in Australia, measuring how different the temperature is in a given year against the long-term average. Put simply, it demonstrates how things are getting hotter, and 2018 was the third-hottest year:

Climate interactive

This second shows Australia’s quarterly emissions over time. The bars need to be under the two lines (assuming a linear rate of reduction to meet the target) if we are going to meet various emissions targets.

Climate interactive

The pink line shows the trajectory to a 28% reduction in emissions, based on 2005 levels, by 2030. This is the more ambitious of Australia’s possible reduction targets under the Paris agreement.

The purple line is the trajectory proposed by the Climate Change Authority based on the best available science to ensure Australia makes a meaningful contribution towards keeping global temperature increases under 2C.

Ideally the bars should be below both lines.


And some early data from Twitter:

  • #ClimateStrike is trending #1 in Australia and has been for the past two hours
  • #schoolstrike4climate is at #2 and #friday4future is at #5

Australian cities where #climatestrike is trending:

  • Adelaide #2
  • Darwin #1
  • Melbourne #1
  • Perth #1
  • Sydney #1

#EXCLUSIVE: The first #climatestrike data is in! This is how the school strike conversation has lit up across Australia over the the last 3 days to now.

Follow our #schoolstrike4climate live blog here:
Data via @TwitterAU #FridaysForFuture

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 20, 2019


An on-the-ground sketch from First Dog on the Moon

First Dog on the Moon sketch for climate strike live blog

You may have noticed the arresting temperature chart at the top of our site this morning – I know I did.

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 19, 2019

Our colleagues internationally have also compiled more charts that explain the climate crisis.


And some slightly better news:


In Lismore Frewoini Baume has interviewed Suhani Sheppeard, 16.

FB: “Why are you striking?”

SS: “I’m striking because I believe it takes one person to change the world. Having that opportunity to be that person is incredibly inspiring and I want to be the one voice to inspire others.

“It feels incredibly empowering to be a part of the community in our global strike, and inspires me to always fight for climate justice.”


Vanuatu's deputy prime minister: "The people who need to hear this are not here"

Jotham Napat, Vanuatu’s deputy prime minister, delivered his speech in English “because the people who need to hear this, the ones who are causing the problems, are not here”.

According to the Vanuatu Posts’ Dan McGarry, Napat named the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as the ones who are “to blame for this threat to our survival”.

Earlier Vanuatu’s foreign affairs minister, Ralph Regenvanu, also spoke and criticised Australia. He characterised the discussions at the recent Pacific Islands forum in Tuvalu as a “fight” between Australia and the rest of the Pacific.

Regenvanu, an outspoken Pacific leader, has also promised to take his country’s climate grievance to the International Court of Justice to seek legal redress.

VU FM Ralph Regenvanu takes the gloves off. Describing the standoff in Tuvalu as a 'fight' with Australia, he promises to bring the nation's climate grievances to the ICJ to seek legal redress. #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency

— Dan McGarry (@dailypostdan) September 20, 2019

During the Pacific Islands forum Regenvanu told the Guardian that critical talks almost collapsed twice amid “fierce” clashes between Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and other Pacific leaders.

“Australia is out there – they’re not with us,” Regenvanu said at the time.

Today students in Vanuatu partnered with the Vanuatu climate action network to stage a silent strike. Students wearing traditional dress and holding banners with messages about the climate crisis stood around the capital, Port Vila, as politicians walked around the city viewing the messages, finishing up at the seafront of the city where there were art exhibitions, poetry performances and speeches.


In Albury the march will head to the office of the environment minister, Sussan Ley.

Albury #ClimateStrike. Will compile on the thread below. We will be marching to @sussanley's office #FridaysForFuture

— Amy Coopes (@coopesdetat) September 20, 2019


Q&A from Stanwell Corporation

Our first Q&A is in. The Stanwell Corporation is one of Australia’s biggest energy companies. EnergyAustralia and Stanwell were the only members of Australia’s top 10 carbon emitters who agreed to take a question for our live blog today.

Narii Hamill-Salmon, 15, from the Gold Coast asks:

The Stanwell Corporation was named as the nation’s third largest carbon emitter in 2017-18 [by the Clean Energy Regulator] thus making the company a significant contributor to the climate crisis.

Mr Van Breda, if you could say one thing to the future generations of this planet, the ones who are going to experience the most devastating impacts of climate change, what would you tell them?”

Richard Van Breda, chief executive:

Thanks for your question, Narii. I think a lot about that, and here’s what I would tell future generations about the work we do at Stanwell.

The electricity industry is at a tricky time in its transition to lower carbon technologies. The proportion of low carbon energy and storage in Australia is increasing quickly, but those technologies are not yet at a point where they can function without support from fossil fuel generation.

As a company that operates coal-fired power stations, it’s Stanwell’s job to provide the electricity that people need, as the industry moves to a lower carbon future. That change can’t happen immediately and needs to be planned and done carefully.

We ramp generation from our coal-fired power stations up and down every day to support solar generation in the middle of the day, and still provide the electricity people need in the evenings.

We are also exploring new generation and storage technology that will help reduce emissions. I’m really proud of the work Stanwell people are doing in all those areas.”


And Frewoini Baume, 18, has sent through the first few images of the Lismore strikes.

The message is clear: a striker in Lismore.
The message is clear: a striker in Lismore. Photograph: Frewoini Baume


If people want a last minute sign for the climate strike First Dog on the Moon says you can print this out on vegan paper and wave it about.

If people want a last minute sign for the climate strike First Dog on the Moon says you can print this out on vegan paper and wave it about
If people want a last minute sign for the climate strike First Dog on the Moon says you can print this out on vegan paper and wave it about Photograph: Andrew Marlton/First Dog on the Moon

More dispatches from Esther in Byron:

People march in the street in Byron Bay , during the September 20 Climate Strike, 2019, NSW, Australia.
People march in the street in Byron Bay , during the September 20 Climate Strike, 2019, NSW, Australia. Photograph: Supplied

Video from Esther Plummer (13) of the Byron Bay #climatestrike

— Naaman Zhou (@naamanzhou) September 20, 2019

In Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands

There are big contingents and great photos coming in from all across the Pacific – especially Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands right now.

'No climate peace' - Vanuatu government will announce that is prepared to take polluting 'countries and corporations' to court to safeguard the lives of the people of Vanuatu. #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency

— Dan McGarry (@dailypostdan) September 20, 2019

Amazing photos coming in from the Solomon Islands where they’re kicking off the Global #ClimateStrikes.

— Jamie Henn (@Agent350) September 20, 2019

These young people in the Solomon Islands have done absolutely nothing to cause the climate crisis.

But as their slogan goes: they’re not drowning, they’re fighting.

Join them. #ClimateStrike

— Jamie Henn (@Agent350) September 20, 2019


And in Castlemaine, Victoria, where this all began (in Australia at least), there are no signs of slowing.

Some of the early Castlemaine contingent heading to the #ClimateStrike in Melbourne.

Its going to be a huge day.

— Friends of the Earth (@FoEAustralia) September 19, 2019


Early signs from University of Sydney:

Here are the three winners of our slogan contest #USYDSoc #GlobalClimateStrike

— susan banki (@susanbanki) September 20, 2019

And nearby, stores all along King Street have closed for the day in solidarity.

Climate change strike posters sign along King Street, Newtown.
Climate change strike posters sign along King Street, Newtown. Photograph: Supplied


In Gloucester New South Wales we have an early contender for best costume today (the sunflower).

Some pint-sized #climatestrike protesters in Gloucester. 🎥 by Caroline Davidson

— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019

In a landmark decision earlier this year, a court blocked a new coalmine in the region because of the “dire consequences” of increasing emissions.


Absolutely huge turnout in Geelong where they’re singing and chanting.

At Geelong City Hall for the #ClimateStrike . Huge turnout

— Asher Moses (@ashermoses) September 20, 2019

“No planet B” song at Geelong #ClimateStrike

— Asher Moses (@ashermoses) September 20, 2019

And more from Townsville:

Townsville locals #Strike4Climate, not a single southern latte-sipper in sight.

— Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) September 20, 2019

It’s not even 11am yet on the east coast and it’s already obvious today’s protests are going to be bigger than ever before.


First Barnesy now The Oils:

We support today’s #climatestrike - "it happens to be an emergency". Look at these average annual temps (dark red = hottest years). For everyone, especially the young, we are now at the crossroads.

— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) September 20, 2019


In Vanuatu:

"We're fighting, not drowning'

Climate strike gets under way in Vanuatu. #ClimateEmergency

— Dan McGarry (@dailypostdan) September 20, 2019

The Knitting Nannas are already down in Lismore.

Our first student on the ground Esther Plummer (13) has sent pictures from Byron Bay.

Children from Byron Bay strike to demand action on climate change, 20 September 2019.
Children from Byron Bay strike to demand action on climate change, 20 September 2019. Photograph: Supplied


Greta Thunberg wishes Pacific nations good luck

It’s early morning in the Pacific. Soon the sun will rise on September 20th 2019. Good luck Australia, The Philippines, Japan and all the Pacific islands. You go first! Now lead the way!#fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #schoolstrike4climate
(NZ + many others go next week.)

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 19, 2019


Earlier we said 1,000 businesses are supporting the strike. That number is now 2,600, with the latest figures from Not Business As Usual.

And here is music legend (and all-round legend) Jimmy Barnes, with his message of support to the strikers.

“Come down and show your support for the kids”: Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes will be attending #climatestrike in Mackay, Queensland.

— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) September 19, 2019

In New Caledonia:

Big turnout in Townsville. The event there started at 9am and they will be marching at 10am.

Townsville #Strike4Climate, the crowd is 3-4 time larger than last year!

— Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) September 19, 2019

Protesters are staging a die-in in the centre of Alice Springs.

‘Dying to save the planet’- protestors send a message in the Alice Springs Todd Mall

— Katrina Beavan (@katrina_beavan) September 19, 2019

Traditional owners have stressed the importance of putting Indigenous perspectives at the centre of these protests.

Yesterday Sammy Wilson, a custodian of Uluru and chair of the Central Land Council, announced that the council will join the strike across the Northern Territory.

“Aboriginal people want to be part of the solution,” he said. “We want to have access to clean technologies such as solar power so that our children have the chance to keep living on our traditional country.

“I support their right to take this action [and] I call on them to spare a thought for Aboriginal people out bush who may not be able to travel to the strikes but who are already suffering most during our hotter, longer and drier summers.”

After the NT’s hottest summer on record, delegates at the council meeting last month said climate change and water security were their top policy priorities.


Kate Lamb in Jakarta writes:

In Indonesia the climate strikes come as the country faces an escalating environmental emergency – tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest are burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan, home to some of the largest swathes of virgin forest in the world.

This year the annual fires – a result of “slash and burn” practices to clear land mostly for palm oil plantations – have been exacerbated by the El Nino phenomenon and severe droughts. Thick haze has blanketed cities in Indonesia and neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, and also forced schools to be closed and increased the risk of respiratory-related illnesses.

Also on the minds of young Indonesian activists is how to curb the country’s plastic addiction. Home to more than 250 million people, Indonesia is the second largest contributor to ocean plastics after China. But in recent years environmental awareness around plastics has gained momentum, largely driven by inspiring Indonesian students, artists, musicians and activists.

On Friday hundreds are expected to take to the streets of Jakarta and 12 cities across the archipelago, on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Bali.

Expect colourful costumes, live performances from local indie bands, and talk of an “energy revolution”. From here in the steamy tropics, the focus of that discussion will be on the future of solar energy.


More from the Pacific from Kate Lyons

Climate strike events kicked off in Tonga yesterday (which held its main event – a community clean-up on Thursday because of the significant number of Seventh Day Adventists in the country who observe the Sabbath on Fridays).

Pacific countries, many of which are bearing the brunt of the effects of the climate crisis, are holding events today, though most are not holding strikes or traditional protests, instead focusing on community events such as clean-ups, barbecues and poetry performances.


Things are already well under way in Alice Springs. Up to 60 local businesses have also shut their doors for today.

Big crowd in Alice Springs for the climate strike- large focus is on impact climate change is having on indigenous people in remote communities

— Katrina Beavan (@katrina_beavan) September 19, 2019

Meanwhile preparations continue around the country.

Early arrivals at the #CoffsHarbour #ClimateStrike with top rate signage. Rally kicks off at 10am we are so pumped ✊💚🌍🔥

— Liisa Rusanen (@liisa_sr) September 19, 2019


Eleanor Ainge Roy writes from Dunedin

New Zealand is pushing back its participation in the strikes to Friday 27 September so high school students can sit national exams this week. Large strikes are planned nationwide.

Sea level rise is a real and increasingly urgent threat to New Zealand. Most of New Zealand’s nearly 5 million people live on the coast. Sea walls to protect vulnerable communities are being constructed – from the former gold-mining town of Hokitika on the west coast to vulnerable beachside huts in the isolated far north. Sea level rise is also a pressing issue for the country’s Indigenous people, with their tribal marae [meeting houses] mostly on low-lying coastal land.

Jacinda Ardern’s Labour coalition government has vowed to tackle climate change head on, committing to making the country carbon neutral by 2050 and planting 1bn trees.

The first climate strike in New Zealand was interrupted by the Christchurch mosque attacks, with children in central Christchurch shepherded into lockdown for hours. It was initially thought, incorrectly, that the striking children may have been a target.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand’s policy manager, Annaliese Johnston, says New Zealand youth climate groups have been instrumental in increasing awareness in the Pacific region.

“The youth of today in New Zealand ... have woken us all up to the urgent call to action to protect our common home and future.”


Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish student who inspired this movement, has recorded a short film for today’s strike.

In it, she and Guardian columnist George Monbiot talk about the importance of natural solutions – low-cost, effective initiatives such as rowing trees.

And for a bit of a blast from the past you can read Thunberg’s opinion piece from November 2018 – written specifically for Australia – when we became one of the first countries to hold nationwide student strikes.


“In the Pacific we don’t go on strike, but we do other things,” says Patricia Mallam, a Fijian climate activist from

Over the course of the day children and students from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Tonga, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea will take part in poetry performances, silent protests, sporting events, barbecues and intergenerational discussions about the effects of climate change in the region.

These events rather than traditional protests and street marches make more sense for the Pacific, says Mallam, because it is such a community-driven region “and we all know that the problem is not within the community”.

#ClimateStrike events will kick off (appropriately) in the Pacific.

“It is a day for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on," says Patricia Mallam from @350Pacific. "But the Pacific is at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up.”

— Kate Lyons (@MsKateLyons) September 19, 2019

“For instance, you don’t have any coalmines in the Pacific, so we can’t have people striking outside coalmines. The problems are not being caused here. But in countries where there are coalmines or banks financing the fossil-fuel industry, it makes sense for people to go on strike, so they’re voicing their distaste for what’s going on to keep their economies afloat,” she says over the phone from Fiji.
“We all know that the problem is not being caused here in the Pacific, but we’re facing the full brunt of the climate crisis.”

The Pacific is estimated to contribute just 0.03% of global emissions despite making up 0.12% of the world’s population, but is at the frontline of the climate emergency, with countries facing rising sea levels, coastal erosion, the destruction of crucial reefs, inundations and warming seas that lead to more frequent and more severe cyclones.

“It is a day, especially for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on,” says Mallam. “But at the same time, in the Pacific we feel that because we’re at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up and have other nations hear what’s happening.”


Preparations are under way in the Solomon Islands already.

Riding the waves of change, youth are arriving now via boat in Marovo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands ready for their #climatestrike #MatagiMalohi event today.

— 350 Pacific (@350Pacific) September 19, 2019

And Kate Lyons spoke to some of the activists across the Pacific ahead of today’s big day.


Here’s everything you need to know about today’s strikes as collated by my colleague Lisa Cox.

There are more than 100 locations, and the strikes have support from 30 unions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and more than 1,000 businesses including Atlassian, Future Super and KeepCup.

And in news from this morning, more than 250 academics have also signed on in support.


In Australia today

Morning everyone. Today the global climate strikes start in Australia and the Pacific. The Guardian Australia team will follow it all.

We have a huge day of coverage planned. The Australian strikes will be in full swing from 11am or noon (local time) and before that in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Our correspondents are standing by, and cartoonist First Dog on the Moon is on duty – they’ll be sketching throughout the day.

And because today is really about the students, we’ve organised to receive on-the-ground updates from participants. Here they are in a (non-exhaustive) list:

  • Narii-Hamill Salmon, 15, Gold Coast Qld
  • Frewoini Baume, 18, Lismore NSW
  • Josh O’Callaghan, 15, Adelaide SA
  • Amelia Neylon, 16, Hobart Tas
  • Esther Plummer, 13, Byron Bay NSW
  • Iestyn (13) and Owynn (11) Harries, Brisbane Qld
  • Dakota Barret-Perry, 15, Melbourne Vic

They have also been given the opportunity to ask a question directly of federal politicians and prominent business leaders – from the energy minister to EnergyAustralia.

We’ll publish the questions and their answers throughout the day.

Stay with us.



For the next 24 hours, the Guardian will be reporting in real time on the wave of climate strikes as they ripple around the world, starting in the Asia-Pacific region and continuing through Europe and Africa before culminating in the Americas.

Millions of young people are expected to turn out in more than 3,000 events worldwide in this latest edition of the Fridays For Future strikes. On this occasion, adults have been invited to join in and companies, organisations, trade unions, even churches are expected to join the fray.

Our correspondents on the ground will be feeding in with live updates from the world’s major metropolises, and we’ll be pausing for breath every now and then to consider the bigger picture, the state we’re in, the scale of the challenge. The strike kicks off a big week for environmental activism with a major climate action summit at the UN next week and another round of Friday strikes on the 27th. The Guardian will be at these events too.



Maanvi Singh, Mark Oliver, Haroon Siddique, and Naaman Zhou

The GuardianTramp

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