Kids in the U.K. skipped school Friday—all in the name of saving the world.
Thousands of students in some 60 cities and towns are on strike, hitting the streets demanding that their governments move quickly to solve climate change. The protests, organized by the UK Student Climate Network, are part of a rapidly-growing global youth movement.
These students want the UK government to declare a “climate emergency,” according to the Evening Standard, along with dropping the voting age to 16. This act of protest was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who does not hold back when calling shit out.
Students are ditching school and flooding city streets from Manchester and London to the Scottish Highlands. Some leaders, like First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, are supportive of this action, reports The Guardian, but others like the National Association of Head Teachers and Education Secretary Damian Hinds would rather these youth stay in class, per the Evening Standard. The kids’ response seems to be, what’s the point of an education if there’s no planet to use it?
Around the world, there’s been an awakening among young people who are going to be left cleaning up this mess previous generations created. In particular, Thunberg’s Friday climate strike under the banner #FridaysForFuture has prompted similar protests in places like Belgium and Ireland. During the U.N. climate talks last year, students in 14 cities in Germany went on strike, and a delegation of 30 sat on the steps of the event’s conference center in protest. In the U.S., a major school strike is scheduled for next month.
All these kids want is a safe and healthy planet and a future. As simple as that sounds, guaranteeing it will take a lot of big actions—namely eliminating global greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to a clean energy economy.
The youth aren’t the ones in Congress or other legislative bodies able make this happen (yet!), but they’ve still got a voice. And they’re not afraid to use it.