Youth strikers from MAPA countries (Most Affected People and Areas), Mitzi Jonelle Tan (Philippines), Eyal Weintraub (Argentina), Disha A Ravi (India), Kevin Mtai (Kenya), Laura Veronica Muñoz (Colombia), were joined by Greta Thunberg from Sweden to announce a new wave of global climate strikes.
On September 25, 2020, thousands of climate strikes will take place across the globe to demand urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. Actions will be in the streets where COVID-19 regulations allow, as well as online. Street protests will follow local COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.
As extreme weather events, fires and floods driven by the climate crises accelerate across the world, the strikes are a reminder to those in power that the climate crisis has not gone away.
Last year, millions of people took to the streets to demand climate action. Politicians and the media congratulated the youth and portrayed them as beacons of hope. However, with those same leaders’ inaction, there was never a cause for celebration. For the youth in the areas most affected by the climate crisis, 2019 was not a year for festivities: it was a struggle.
Millions of people had to abandon their homes and it was one of the hottest years on record. With the global pandemic proving that our system cannot handle a serious crisis, now is the perfect opportunity to have a just recovery and build a better normal.
Kevin Mtai from Kenya said: “The climate crisis is already having a huge impact on communities like mine in Africa. Unprecedented heavy rains and record floods across West, Central, and East Africa have affected millions of people in recent weeks, with more than 200 people dead and hundreds of thousands left homeless. In the US there are devastating wildfires, climate breakdown is not something that is going to happen in the future, it is here and now.”
Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Philippines: “The Global South, or the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA), are those that experience the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Despite being the ones to bear the brunt of the extreme calamities, we are continuously ignored, and underrepresented in places of power.
“There is a pressing need for our voices to be heard all over the world, especially in the global climate movement, and for the carbon majors historically responsible for this crisis to act immediately. Carbon majors, the US, EU, China, Shell, BP, Exxon, Chevron, we are calling you out. You have a responsibility to the world, especially to us most affected.”
Laura Verónica Muñoz, Colombia: “In Colombia, defending the land, nature and human rights means putting your life at risk. In 2019, 212 environmental leaders were killed, more than half of these cases happened in only two countries: Colombia and the Philippines. During the pandemic we have seen police killing indiscriminately young people who go out to protest; corrupt politicians who care more about their pockets than about the exacerbated inequality; and projects that seek to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of foreign companies. This September 25th we are going to mobilise to defend life, nature and demand the ratification of the Escazú Agreement.”
Disha Ravi, India: “In India, people continue to suffer because of laws that are anti people. We live in a country where dissent is suppressed. We in Fridays For Future India were labelled terrorists for objecting to the draft EIA notification. Only a government that puts profit over people would consider asking for clean air, clean water and a liveable planet, an act of terrorism.
“We will continue this fight because stopping would mean no water to drink, no air to breathe and no land to live for the marginalised communities. The government needs to work with the people to protect the people. The time for prevention is over, we need recovery and a just transition.”
Nicole Becker, Argentina: “Argentina and all of Latin America is on fire. Our region is lighting up as a consequence of 5 centuries of pillaging, extractivism and colonisation. If we don’t take into account the environmental debt of the North to the South and how this affected the gigantic external debts that our countries have, it is impossible to resolve the climate crisis in a just way.” –
Greta Thunberg, Sweden: “Extreme weather driven by the climate crisis is accelerating around the world, and yet we still don’t treat it as a crisis. We are in a global emergency that affects all of us. However, not everyone is suffering its consequences equally and the media ignore the devastation in global south countries being disproportionately hit.
“Next Friday, 25th September, Fridays For Future and the youth climate movement will strike again around the world, in a safe way and following Covid-19 guidelines, to demand those in power treat this like the urgent crisis it is.”