Young and rebel for the climate: from Severn Suzuki to FFF

One of the aspects of the climate emergency is that it will primarily affect future generations. That is why young people have always been active.

In 1992, Canadian Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke at the plenary session of the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to criticize authorities for their inaction on environmental issues.

In 2011, 21-year-old Abigail Borah stood up and interrupted U.S. Special Envoy, Todd Stern, at one of the COP-17 sessions in Durban, South Africa. Borah said she was speaking «on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot. The obstructionist Congress has handcuffed justice and delayed ambition for too long. I am afraid for my future. 2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty.»

30 years after Severn Suzuki, in August 2018, a group of Swedish girls and boys started to stay out of school and sit on Fridays in front of the Swedish parliament to also protest against the same inaction. Fridays for Future was born. Greta Thunberg gained notoriety and girls and boys in other countries begin to replicate her idea. Today FFF is established in 7,500 cities on all continents and has more than 14 million members.

On March 15, 2019, a global strike was organized in 125 countries that managed to attract more than one million people. On May 24, 2019, coinciding with the European Parliament elections they organized the second global strike, which included 1,600 events in 150 countries. Again hundreds of thousands turned out. In September the Global Week for the Future was organized with other organizations from the 20th to the 27th in more than 150 countries with 4,500 strikes and some 4 million demonstrators. We are talking about probably the largest climate strikes in the history of the world, with 4 million on September 20 and 2 million on September 27.

While the image and symbol of FFF is Greta Thunberg, we must remember other activists who being from other countries have suffered worse consequences and are less known. Armenian Arshak Makichyan is a member of FFF who suffered imprisonment in Russia and Disha Ravi from FFF India was imprisoned for 10 days.

Greta Thunberg and Arshak Makichyan

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