Today is the Global Climate Strike, where kids (and adults who support them) around the world are leaving school and work to rally to demand more aggressive action on climate change. The cause has been taken up by large sections of the business community: Many companies are closing their stores or taking their websites dark. And groups of employees, especially in tech, are using the walkout to try to push their employers to change policies. Two thousand scientists are marching in support.
Here’s everything you need to know about the day’s events:
What is it?
The day of action was inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began skipping school on Fridays to draw attention to the climate crisis. Youth around the world followed and have been striking for more than a year.
The event is taking place this week to coincide with the UN General Assembly in New York, which includes a climate summit. Thunberg recently sailed to New York (to avoid the emissions of a plane trip) in order to be at the protest near the global leaders. A week of escalated actions will follow in some cities, from a protest in Duluth, Minnesota, against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline to a protest against companies financing fossil fuels in San Francisco. More mass strikes are planned for September 27.
Because this is a youth-led protest, New York City has offered blanket permission for students to miss school. Doctors around the country have been offering notes to students to let them miss school for a climate emergency.
Where is it?
Here is where you can find a climate strike event near you. There are large events in most major cities, but also hundreds of other smaller local events. More than 4,500 strikes are planned worldwide.
What do they want?
You can read the list of demands here. They include a Green New Deal, respect for indigenous land and sovereignty, environmental justice, protecting biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture.
How is the business community involved?
A long list of businesses are fully closing, to let their employees take part in the protest and to signal their support. Other companies are taking part in a “digital climate strike,” which means their websites will be dark and direct people toward resources about the climate.
At other companies, employees are planning to walk out even though the company won’t close. At Amazon, for instance, more than 1,500 employees say they’ll walk out in protest of what they say are lackluster climate policies from the company (a day before the walkout, Amazon announced major new sustainability initiatives). Large walkouts are planned at the other large tech companies as well.