The weather is a bit grey, but there is no rain in sight- that came later. It is Friday March 16th 2019, the day of the climate strike. A green plant swings back and forth as the guy wearing it on his back carries it into the crowd, dancing his way in. Most people have brought more traditional means of protest such as banners, signs and t-shirts, all decorated with climate related statements, adding to the atmosphere. ‘Act or drown!’ reads one, ‘Eat beans and not friends!’, cries another. Other messages are more subtle, but they all call for change.
“It is important [to hold climate marches and strikes] to put a face to all the children which the climate challenge will effect.” – Mathilde Christiansen
The biggest group are the young- the school children who have left their classrooms to be here today. They are, however, not alone, ‘The Grandparents Climate Action’ has also shown up. With their grey hair and canes, there is a stark contrast between the two biggest groups. There are many others in between, too, like the mothers with their strollers, nurturing tomorrow’s generation, and the students with their long beards and hemp shirts. Maybe it would have been nice to see a politician or two more, but they still have time to see the light, or do they? After the Paris agreements and climate conferences, rising sea-levels, and coming climate related humanitarian catastrophes, one might think they should have noticed by now and taken action.
The good news is, a whole lot of people have noticed, not only in Aalborg, but all over the world. That’s why this climate strike was not only taking place in Aalborg. Actually, the idea did not even start here, but with a little girl in Sweden. Greta Thunberg is her name, and on a Friday in August 2018, she started the first strike in the, now world-wide, climate strike movement. With the slogan ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’, she sat in front of the Swedish parliament Riksdagen, and bit by bit, a movement of young people have grown around her. When a young girl in Sweden puts her foot down and says that now is the time for action, no more talk, it inspires us all to do better and take such measures. As a result, in Aalborg, as well as in countless other cities around the world, both young and old people chose to strike for the climate and take action.
Without taking away from the success of Greta, we have known about climate change for longer than she has been around. For much longer than she has been around, in fact. The idea of CO 2 contributing to higher temperatures was first published in 1896 (that was 1896, not 1996). In light of this, to say it is time to take action should probably be considered an understatement.
“If established politicians, decision makers and big corporations cannot do that now, we will come and do it for them in our own way, and it is going the be the way we want it.” – Karl Felix Flyvbjerg Poulsen
The UN also states the importance. It even has its own goal among the sustainable development goals. It’s number 13, Climate Action, symbolised with an eye where the pupil is the globe. A true symbol of the planet’s relation to people.
This relation to people is also what drives the people of the demonstration to protest. Like Greta, it’s the people that take action that matter. One of the organizers of Aalborg’s climate strike, Mathilde Christiansen, echoes Greta Thunberg when she emphasises the importance of having the children not yet able to vote showing up for the demonstration, “It is important [to hold climate marches and strikes] to put a face to all the children which the climate challenge will effect. So, getting them on the streets and getting them engaged in the climate debate, I think that is really important because it is their future and they don’t have the opportunity to vote yet, so them being able to show their faces and then the media covering that and the politicians seeing all these young people, I think that really does something in the grand scheme”.
Karl Felix Flyvbjerg Poulsen, who also helped organize the strike, considers it quite logical that young people would show up. As he puts it, “it is mainly young people who showed up today, because we know this is about our own future. I think a main message is that the youth do care about climate change. We do want action and we do want change. If established politicians, decision makers and big corporations cannot do that now, we will come and do it for them in our own way, and it is going the be the way we want it. So, they must act now and find reasonable solutions, or we will have to take over, because there is no more time to waste”.
The elder generation from ‘The Grandparents Climate Action’ take action for their grandchildren, the parents for their children, and the school children and university students for their own future. Why do you do it?
Article by: Jacob Blasius Thomsen
Interviews done by: Signe Kvistborg Balle and Michaela Higgins Sørensen
Article Edited by: Michaela Higgins Sørensen
Caption Picture By: Jacob Blasius Thomsen