The worldwide “Fridays for Future” movement is piling the pressure on politicians. In Europe in particular, the influence of the campaign launched by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is growing.
The young activists are angry at what they see as their elders’ failure to protect the environment and are seeking new forms of protest in their fight for immediate action to prevent further global warming and climate change. In the last six months, Famke from Germany, Lena from Switzerland and Antoni from Poland have taken part in the school strike for the climate every Friday. They continued their activism even during their summer vacation. Famke traveled from Berlin to a Fridays for Future congress in Dortmund, where students from all over Germany came together to discuss how their aims could be reconciled with political and economic interests. 17-year-old Antoni from Warsaw attended a Climate Camp that brought together a range of environmental groups and activists for talks on their various objectives. The primary demand of the Fridays for Future movement is that the states that signed the Paris Agreement stick to the targets it laid out. On other issues, the movement’s agenda varies from country to country. In Germany, the young activists are demanding the government introduce a carbon tax, while in Poland they want to see the issue of climate change addressed in schools. Student groups across Europe are beginning to formulate common goals and build networks in order to strengthen the movement and step up pressure on politicians. 16-year-old Lena from Basel was one of the organizers of the Summer Meeting in Lausanne Europe (SMILE) that took place in Switzerland and brought together activists from all over the world. The ultimate goal of the three young campaigners is nothing less than to save the planet.
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