Young and old alike took to the streets in an estimated 185 countries to demand action
Sandra Laville and Jonathan Watts
Sat 21 Sep 2019
Millions of people demonstrated across the world yesterday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating, as they united across timezones and cultures to take part in the biggest climate protest in history.
In an explosion of the youth movement started by the Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg just over 12 months ago, people protested from the Pacific islands, through Australia, across-south east Asia and Africa into Europe and onwards to the Americas.
For the first time since the school strikes for climate began last year, young people called on adults to join them – and they were heard. Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilised in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook walked out to join the climate strikes.
In the estimated 185 countries where demonstrations took place, the protests often had their individual targets; from rising sea levels in the Solomon Islands, toxic waste in South Africa, to air pollution and plastic waste in India and coal expansion in Australia.
But the overall message was unified – a powerful demand for an urgent step-change in action to cut emissions and stabilise the climate.
The demonstrations took place on the eve of a UN climate summit, called by the secretary general, António Guterres, to inject urgency into government action to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C, as agreed under the 2015 Paris agreement.