On Friday 15th March 2019, commenced the second strike, led by today’s youth, against climate change, as part of the Fridays for Future Movement. But do strikes work in the long run? Is the government doing enough against Climate Change? Is there any point in disrupting the education system for a strike? These are all questions I intended on answering.

The Roots of Inspiration

It all begins with one individual: a 16-year-old girl for Sweden, Great Thunberg. Starting in August 2019, Greta Thunberg has been campaigning outside the Riksdag Parliament House on a weekly basis, Friday to Friday, demanding that the government introduce legislation to address climate change. Greta’s commitment to this cause and her consistency has inspired the youth across the world, her message reaching the far corners of the glove.

Since then, she has been invited to deliver a ted talk, speak at the UN climate conference at Katowice (UKSCN, 3) and has been nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Yet it would be naïve to assume her influence and success stops there; her words have had a butterfly effect, and all across the world. The youth all across the world have taken to the internet and the streets to express their support for Greta’s message and forcing their nation’s government to take action against climate change. The force of today’s youth is extremely evident in the booming metropolitan city of London.

The strike on the 15th March was one of 107 registered strikes across the U.K (Sharma, 4), and was so large in number that the rounds around Trafalgar Square was completely blocked (Sharma, 2). Instrumental in invoking this level of youth activism, was Lottie Tellyn, a 17 year old student and Youth4Strike activist. Promoting the cause on social media, appearing on Good Morning Britain and writing an article for the Independent, Lottie has become a key figure, along with many others in advocating for the UK parliament to take greater action against Climate Change.

Why Climate Change?

“So many issues affect young people and children, so why should climate change get the go-ahead?” Those were words spoken by Jack Payne, a 17-year-old student representing the voice of disagreement over school walk outs to protest climate change on Good Morning Britain; a view that appeared to resonate with many. However, what is so unique about the issue is how wide-spread, urgent and damning it has become over the years. It is not, nor has it ever been, an isolated issue that affects a single community; the damaging effects of climate change will eventually affect everyone. Yet it is today’s youth that will have to live with the repercussions of the government’s inability to listen to the voices of the people and the consensus among the scientific community.

The environment report released by the Intergovernmental Planet on Climate Change in late 2018, reveals the detrimental impact of current corporate practices and our consumerist way of life. The report shows that the world needs to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degree Celsius to prevent potentially dangerous effects on the environment. If the temperature were to increase by 0.5 more than that figure, the world can expect the coral reefs to be destroyed, species to go extinct at an unprecedented rate and the artic, which is characterised by it’s icy landscape, to be without ice for at least a summer, once a decade (Gabbatiss, 12). Furthermore, with rising sea levels, low-level coastal nations like Bangladesh and Vietnam to be especially hit, forcing them from their homes and exacerbating the international ‘immigration crisis’ (Gabbatiss, 13).

These are only a few of the many predicted effects that very well have the potential to come true, if we as a global society, don’t force our governments to take drastic action to meet the measures outlined in the IPCC report.

Strikes and Schools

Though the core purpose of the strikes has be well-received by the general populous, its timing has caused much controversy. In following the footstep of Greta Thunberg, the student led climate strikes are scheduled monthly, on Fridays. This means there will be a persistent disruption to the education of the student protesters, and would dismantle the teaching plans of educators. Many, have thus, concluded that the measures of the student are “excessive”. But does excessive damage to our environment, so excessive that it could turn the world-we know into postapocalyptic nightmare, require “excessive” action?

“A lot of people have questioned my reasons for striking. There’s the obvious: I want to help bring about positive and meaningful action on climate change. However, on top of that, I can no longer justify doing nothing. This is what we owe to ourselves and the generation still to come. We simply can’t stand by and watch the world and our environment collapse around us,” writes Lottie Tellyn in her article (Tellyn, 9). And perhaps, that is the attitude that we need to see voice more often, in the government that the youth have no say in.


Britain, Good Morning. YouTube, YouTube, 14 Feb. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_iAsPlJ6d4&t=390s.

Gabbatiss, Josh. “What the IPCC Report Means for the Earth and How You Can Help Beat Climate Change.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 8 Oct. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-warming-ipcc-report-un-fossil-fuels-greenhouse-gas-co2-a8574731.html.

Sharma, Ruchira. “Thousands of Students across the UK March in Second Climate Change Strikes.” Inews.co.uk, Inews.co.uk, 15 Mar. 2019, inews.co.uk/news/thousands-of-students-across-the-uk-march-in-second-climate-change-strikes/. “Fridays for Future.” UKSCN, 31 May 2018, ukscn.org/fridaysforfuture.

Press, Alex. “It's Time to Acknowledge That Strikes Work.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 May 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/05/31/its-time-to-acknowledge-that-strikes-work/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cbdb7229e3e0.

Tellyn, Lottie. “Opinion: Grown-Ups Have Failed on Climate Change – so Us Kids Are Going on Strike to Save the Planet.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 14 Feb. 2019, www.independent.co.uk/voices/climate-change-protest-strike-global-warming-children-greta-thunberg-a8779221.html.