COVID-19

Greta calls for climate strikes to shift from the streets to the internet during coronavirus crisis

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the rally ''Europe Climate Strike'' in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron - RC2IEF99KSHH

Greta Thunberg at a ''Europe Climate Strike'' in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2020. Image: REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Robin Pomeroy
Podcast Editor, World Economic Forum
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COVID-19

  • Thunberg started global movement of school strikes for climate action.
  • Urges fellow activists to follow expert advice on coronavirus.
  • Launches #ClimateStrikeOnline hashtag.

Greta Thunberg, who launched a mass movement of youth protests for climate action, has asked her supporters to suspend large demonstrations while coronavirus remains a threat.

The 17-year-old Swede tweeted that protesters should join her in weekly "digital strikes" and post pictures with the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline.

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Thunberg said that while climate change remained "the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced", protesters should heed expert advice on not gathering in large crowds, to avoid the spread.

Business news agency Bloomberg praised her move: "Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has the same message on the novel coronavirus as she has on climate change: listen to the science."

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In August 2018, Thunberg held her first skolstrejk för klimatet, a 'school strike for climate', ducking out of class to protest outside Sweden's parliament. Within months, a global movement was born and by March 2019, more than 2 million students across 135 countries were holding school strikes.

She has addressed the last two World Economic Forum Annual Meetings in Davos. In January she had this message for world leaders:

"You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: 'Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.'

"And then — nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken."

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Related topics:
COVID-19Global HealthClimate ChangeYouth Perspectives
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