by Shana Nelson
It all started in Sweden, when students didn’t feel they should go to school for a future that didn’t exist. Now, students all across the globe are joining together and beginning to lead their own protests with #schoolstrike4climatechange.
The movement started with the workings of a then 15 year old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, who was shaken and confused with the climate affair matters in her country. On Augsust 20, 2018, she bravely sat by herself on the cobblestones of a parliament building.
On September 8th, after three weeks of striking, she made a decision to continue her striking every Friday, until, according to FridaysForFuture, “the Swedish policies provided a safe pathway well under 2-degree C, i.e. in line with the Paris agreement.”
While she started out all alone in the beginning, she is now the face of a new movement that’s being followed by students all around the world with joining the FridaysForFuture movement and posting to social media with #schoolstrike4climatechange.
So far, the protests are being organized in more than 123 countries around the world, and the online movement has taken social media by storm.
Thunberg, though she may only be 16 years old now, is considered the face against climate change. Besides starting this movement, she’s gained so much authority in the matter that she’s even given her own TED Talk.
In fact, Thunberg’s plea is so convincing that a teacher in Sweden even left her job in order to support her students.
Overall, the tale of FridaysForFuture and #schoolstrike4climatechange goes to show that the tiniest people are sometimes the mightiest, and that students are the ones with the ability to truly teach the world the importance of certain issues.
When it comes to young people making waves, it didn’t start here. In fact, The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts writes that this movement was actually inspired by the actions taken by students in Parkland, FL when starting March For Our Lives.
“The climate strike was inspired by students from the Parkland school in Florida, who walked out of classes in protest against the US gun laws that enabled the massacre on their campus. Greta was part of a group that wanted to do something similar to raise awareness about climate change, but they couldn’t agree what.”
Student-led protests are happening for issues all over the world for various issues, and WVU had a protest of its own in late February due to the campus carry bill, it’s clear to see that students here are good at rallying together to get a message across.
To add to this, there may even be more of a reason for students here to protest due to the fact that The West Virginia Legislature recently passed a bill containing a set of environmental regulations, which according to West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Brittany Patterson, includes, “a controversial water pollution rule that was pared down during the legislative process.”
The rule would govern the dumping of pollution in the rivers and streams of our state, a move that will directly impacting the health of the people here.
With this in mind, it’s’ interesting to wonder whether or not FridaysForFuture, #schoolstrike4climatechange, or a similar movement will make its way to Morgantown soon.
Whether or not it makes its way here, the lesson provided by Thunberg’s movement is one to take note of, and one that is fittingly applicable outside of the classroom. It’s that there is always a reason to fight for what’s right, and to remember that we have a right to protest and yearn for the protection and betterment the futures of ourselves and our children.