FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
–Quotes & Background Below–
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2019
CONTACT: Ben Rubin | email@example.com | 646-559-8263
America Goes on Strike: More Than 1,100 Locations Across U.S. Strike from School and Work to Demand Transformative Climate Action
—Hundreds of Thousands of People Strike in U.S. and Over Four Million Strike Globally —
Hundreds of thousands people across America left school and work today to demand that leaders in the U.S. and across the world take action to address the climate crisis. Organized and led by youth in the Climate Strike Coalition, the demonstrations today represent the largest climate strike in U.S. history and kick off a week of sustained international actions to call for transformative changes to climate policy.
New York, Boston, and San Francisco are expected to have the largest turnouts, with more than 300,000 striking in NYC alone. The Strike itself is nationwide, with more than 1,100 locations in all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. There were more than a dozen strike locations in Puerto Rico alone, commemorating the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria. School has been canceled for more than 200,000 students in Houston, America’s largest fourth largest city, because of extreme weather. Students will proceed with their strike and point to the signals between climate change and Tropical Storm Imelda as a reason for taking action.
The Climate Strike earned the support of elected leaders, businesses, and schools. Companies like Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s are closed today to encourage employees to join the strike. The UN Secretary General applauded the action, days before world leaders gather the UN Climate Action Summit to discuss climate action.
The Climate Strike Coalition released a set of policy demands ahead of the strike, calling for transformative climate action. The demands are the first time that such a broad coalition of youth groups have coalesced around a Green New Deal. The demands include a strong focus on protecting people, through saving indigenous land, helping frontline communities, and supporting a just transition.
The strikes take place during a surge of direct actions to demand climate solutions. Many of the youth groups involved in today’s events have been striking for more than a year. International strikes are planned over the next week in more than 4,500 locations across the world.
The youth-led Climate Strike is the largest climate mobilization in U.S. history, with more than 1,000 strikes planned in 50 states. The effort is organized by the U.S. Youth Climate Strike Coalition and backed by dozens of adult organizations.
“Our world as we know it will no longer exist if we continue down the trajectory that we’re going. Something must be done. Elected officials and world leaders have shown us that they do not yet have the courage to take the action necessary to save the planet on their own. And so we must show them. We must tell why it’s important. The solutions are out there. There is still time to do something. There is still time to fix what we’ve broken. But we must act now.” – Katie Eder, Executive Director, Future Coalition
“Young people in more than 140 countries are taking to the streets to demand that our political leaders treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is. Fossil fuel CEOs will stop at nothing to squeeze every last drop of money from the earth — but our generation is mobilizing by the thousands and will strike again and again until we win. The momentum from today shows that any candidate for the American presidency who wants to win our generation’s votes must commit to making the Green New Deal the number-one priority of their administration.” –Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director, Sunrise Movement
“We are striking because business as usual is a death sentence to those already on the frontlines of the climate breakdown as well as generations to come. To make it through this crisis we need to tear down the systems that oppress us and rebuild our society to be just, sustainable, and respectful of the interconnected web of life of which we are just one part. We owe it to our planet and to ourselves to fight for a better future with everything that we have.” – Sophia Geiger, National Coordinator, Fridays For Future
“Because of the actions of the United States government and the fossil fuel industry, my generation has never known a world free from the impacts of climate change. Time is running out. This decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet. This is our time to join in solidarity with communities around the world to fight for a just future. This is why we strike.” – Vic Barrett, Co-plaintiff Juliana v. United States
“I am striking because climate change is the most formidable challenge humankind has ever faced. With my generation’s unrivaled passion, idealism, and enthusiasm, if change is to happen, it will be because we pressed aging politicians into action. If we don’t come together and create change now, future generations will remember us as the people who stood idly as our world burned.” – Ben May, President and Founder, ThinkOcean Society
“My Indian brothers and sisters feel the greatest impacts of the climate crisis but are entrapped in a system of oppression that prevents them from doing anything. I strike for them and all those left without a voice” – Ritvik Janamsetty, Press Coordinator, Earth Uprising
“I strike for my family in India who are forced to breathe toxic air everyday. I strike against the systems that cause them to be hit first and worst by the climate crisis. I strike because though the climate crisis will hit marginalized communities the most, corporate greed is universal.” – Supriya Patel, Partnerships Coordinator, Earth Uprising
“As the child of Chinese immigrants, education is one of the most important pillars of my life. My parents sacrificed everything so my sisters and I could obtain a higher education and lead a better life than they did. I’m striking and skipping school today so other students and I can go to school tomorrow.” – Wendy Gao, Technical Coordinator, Earth Uprising
“I strike because I feel small and voiceless in a world deaf to its own demise. United together, young people will be seen and heard. Our calls for climate action and climate justice cannot be ignored any longer.” – Nikayla Jefferson, Sunrise Movement San Diego
“Today’s youth does not have the luxury to have a childhood anymore. Older generations forced us into giving that away by destroying our planet. But if we strike now, if we work to undo the damage done by those before us, then maybe we can restore that luxury for the generations that follow us.” – Ciara Lonergan, Internal Communications Coordinator, Earth Uprising
“I’m striking because pretending like climate change is a problem for the future puts the security of my future, the future of my peers, and the future of the planet at stake…for what? I want action and I want it right now. Not in 5 years, not in 10. I want it today. I will not be ignored any longer.” –Christina Alexakos, Student, Chicago, Il
“I’m striking because i want kids but won’t be able to have kids if there isn’t any air to breathe. I hope the government panics.” – Natia Reed, Activist, Roy, UT
“I’m striking because I would like to have a future to grow old in and to have my future children grow old in” – Aidan Dever, Student, Lakewood, Ohio
“I’m striking to add as many people as possible to this. To wake up our world leaders to this environmental crisis.” – Deanna Cousart, Greensboro, NC
“I hope that we can make people see that climate change is real, and it’s happening all around us as we speak. We deserve cleaner air, we deserve cleaner water, we deserve a cleaner world.” – Alyssa Carle, Hudsonville, MI
“I am striking because we are faced with a global threat unlike any we’ve encountered before. This is not partisan, but purely a matter of those in power deciding what is more important: their money, or the people who gave them said power.” – Rachael Britt, Co-Leader, Earth Guardians Omaha
“I’m striking because our government has failed at their legal duties to protect our futures” – Isaac Augspurg, Student, Gainesville, FL
“I’m striking because I don’t want my kids to have to wear gas masks to school because this generation and the ones before me didn’t do their part to save this planet.” – Jada Bethea, UNC Greensboro Student
“I am striking to show the world, such as those in control of how production is being run especially with fossil fuel that we no longer have a choice: either fleeting fossil fuel or flourishing future. ” Catherine Barr, Student, Illinois
“It’s time our leaders, both corporate and governmental, hear us loud and clear: there’s no time to wait. The climate crisis is already here and you need to do something about it, or our blood will be on your hands.” – Noah Plofker, Student, New York, NY
“I don’t want to be one of the last generations of humans. I find it shameful that young people [have to] fight for a future” – Courtney Hammett, Substitute Teacher, Spartanburg, SC
“I strike because because I am so afraid of what’s to come if we all don’t change and open our eyes to the climate crisis. I hope these strikes will convince the masses that it’s time to act and there is no time to waste. It’s time to turn our climate anxiety into climate action!” – Leah Spinner, Sunrise Movement, San Diego, CA
“The youth of this world are not waiting for aging politicians to term out. We don’t have the time. So together we are walking out, youth and everyone, to demand immediate bold climate action and social justice. We are demanding a Green New Deal, because that is the scale and the timeline that is needed. Striking is about disrupting the status quo, and we encourage everyone to join us today, and in upcoming strikes, to fight for our future.” – Karl Aldinger, Organizer, Sunrise Movement San Diego
“Climate breakdown is one of the greatest human rights issues we face. Fighting the climate crisis is about much more than emissions and scientific metrics, it’s about fighting for a just and sustainable world that works for all of us. We need to start by phasing out fossil fuels, building real and long lasting solutions and prioritizing the communities at the frontline of the climate crisis.” – May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org
“If anyone out there has been feeling defeatist about our ability to truly fight against climate catastrophe, just look out onto the streets. You’re looking at the youth of America knowing just what to do. And we’re all in to support them. You can be sure we’ll see this play out at the ballot boxes in 2020.” – Vanessa Wruble, Executive Director, March On
“In the United States, communities representing every race, ethnicity, and generation are demanding real climate action from elected officials and those running for office. The youth uprising is backed by millions who refuse to sit by while the Trump administration, hand-in-hand with fossil fuel executives, continues their campaign of climate denial and policy rollbacks, all while we face extreme heat waves, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. We stand with communities demanding economic transformation that works for our collective right to a sustainable, healthy, and livable future. On September 20th and beyond, all of us are coming together to demand real climate leaders at the national, state and local levels hold fossil fuel companies accountable for decades of negligence and damage.” – Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America Director, 350.org
“The children of the world are inheriting a dangerous and dying planet through no fault of their own. To protect their future they have been forced to rise up and challenge adults to join them in healing our planet. Their courage, passion, and tenacity makes me believe the future is in good hands. I am thrilled that Earth’s Call Fund’s grant can help play a role in this tide-turning event and encourage more funders to join the movement.” – Spike Buckley, Co-Founder, Earth’s Call
“The youth climate strikers have have shown the world what true leadership on climate looks like. Now, for the first time, they are asking adults to join them. This is more than just another march for climate – these worldwide strikes have the potential to be the largest mass mobilization on climate in human history. By striking in solidarity with youth climate leaders, adults have the power to disrupt the business-as-usual politics that have led us to the brink of climate destruction.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
“100 years from now people will look back at this incredibly critical juncture and know that everyone who joined the Climate Strike on September 20, 2019, stood on the right side of history. For the young people leading the charge and our communities at the frontlines of climate change right now, this is simply about fighting for existence. The devastating impacts of the climate crisis are here and science is clear that we have a very limited amount of time to prevent irreversible runaway climate catastrophe. Solutions exist and it’s past time our leaders take us off fossil fuels poisoning our communities and causing the climate crisis. We strike to prevent the worse from happening and to build a just, sustainable, and prosperous world for all.” – Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO, Hip Hop Caucus
“Without elected leaders willing to push ambitious plans on climate change, young people don’t have a future. Youth climate strikers understand these dire stakes, and we’re excited to get every one of them registered to vote for candidates who treat our concerns with the urgency they deserve.” Ben Wessel, Executive Director, NextGen America
“The youth climate strike is the first significant climate strike with a big voter registration drive — because 2020 will be the climate election of our lifetime. Youth voices must be heard by leaders in Washington. Climate strikers will be asked to register to vote using a simple app — the first time ever that voter registration tools are being added to climate action. And the September 20 actions will echo into next November, and beyond.” RL Miller, Political Director, Climate Hawks Vote
“Scientists are joining the strike to stand with the people most impacted by the climate crisis—youth and frontline communities—who are calling on world leaders to stop stalling, and finally act with the urgency that science and justice demand. Through our research, we have been warning the world about the climate crisis for decades, and now we are joining concerned people everywhere in the streets.” – Dr. Lucky Tran, Biologist and Managing Director, March for Science
“As a scientist, I’ve studied how climate-driven droughts will increase airborne dust pollution and how burning fossil fuels to power our cars are causing asthma in 4 million children a year worldwide. These are just two of the many reasons why I will be striking in solidarity with the brave young people who are rising up all around the world to demand bolder climate action, because I believe that we all have a right to clean air, clean water, and a livable climate.” – Dr. Ploy Achakulwisut, Staff Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute, USA
“I’ll be striking with my four children because the bold and urgent leadership of youth activists deserves the unbridled support of the climate science community. We have a historic opportunity to rise together in demanding climate action, and I’m honored and humbled to play a small supporting role on Friday.” – Dr. Kim Cobb, Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
“Because we understand the dire scientific predictions, and their implications for humanity and all species, we must raise our voices, strike, and insist governments and corporations transform their policies and practices to address the climate crisis.” – Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Marine Biologist and Founder, Ocean Collectiv, USA
“I am joining other doctors and health professionals in the climate strike because the climate crisis is harming our patients, disrupting our health care systems, and making it harder for us to do our job — to improve and protect health. These harms to health are not felt equally as children especially bear the burden, which is why I joined so many doctors in signing a medical excuse note for kids to strike. Action on the climate crisis protects the health of us all, but especially our children!” – Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS, Emergency Medicine Doctor, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Global Health Institute, C-CHANGE at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
“We support the climate strike because we believe in this movement and its power and potential to make a meaningful difference in the climate fight. We believe in the inspiring youth who rise and demand action at this most critical time. And we will support and fight with them to protect their future, their climate, and the planet they will inherit.” –Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists
“I am participating in the climate strike because the clarity of youth activists, the power of their wisdom and energy, has pushed the climate movement further in the last few months then I thought was possible. Their leadership has fueled my hope and I want to thank them, to listen to them, and to follow them on Friday, and every day. The strike is also a reminder to me – I acknowledge the privilege I have to skip work with ease and remember that I can and should be taking more and bigger risks everyday to push for a just and sustainable future.” – Cameron Russell, co-founder of Model Mafia
“The courage, vision, and leadership of the youth gives voice to the conscience of a new generation,” said Mitch Bernard, interim president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Youth climate strikers are fighting for the future they are inheriting, a future that other generations created, and we have the responsibility to stand with them in their urgent call for action on climate.”
“It’s time we rise up as one planet and take action to move the forces of capitalism towards a net positive direction. Short term gain at the expense of our long term survival is childish. It’s time for us to evolve, grow up, and take care of our only home. Planet Earth” – Patrick Kronfli, Executive Director, Unify.org
“This brave and inspiring group of young activists are fighting for our collective future. It is up to all of us, to follow their example, and synchronize our voices in an unending call for climate action. The era of ignoring science, and refusing to urgently direct every available resource to address the existential crisis of our climate emergency, is over. We encourage anyone who is concerned about the world that will be inherited by current and future generations, to join the movement and take action to preserve and regenerate our wondrous planet. It will take all of us.” Gunnar Lovelace, Founder and CEO of Good Money
Youth-Led Climate Movement
- The Youth Climate Strike Coalition initiated the call for the September 20th action and has issued a set of policy demands for it.
- Youth around the world have been striking for more than a year to demand climate action. September 20th is the first time adults have been invited to formally participate.
- The Strike includes a voter registration drive for youth who are turning 18. More than 10,000 youth have registered to vote in battleground states in just two weeks.
Unprecedented Intergenerational Support
- The New York City school district, comprised of more than one million students, has given permission for youth to skip school for the day to participate in the strike. The Boston school district followed suit.
- More than 600 health and medical professionals have signed a “doctor’s note” excusing students from school, declaring that the climate crisis is a health emergency.
- Over 1,000 Amazon employees will join the climate strike to protest the company’s inaction on climate change, the first strike in Amazon’s 25-year history and Amazon announced climate action today. Here is a complete list of companies shutting down on 9/20 to back the strike and unions have also backed it.
- There will be a “digital climate strike” when more than 6,000 websites will go dark to support the strike on Friday. Websites include Tumblr, Kickstarter, and WordPress.
Hundreds of Locations
- Strikes will take place in a range of locations, from major cities like Chicago, rural areas like Fairbanks, and small towns like Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Here is a spotlight on key events and here is a map of every strike.
- Marking the second anniversary of Hurricane Marias’ devastating impacts on frontline communities and weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, many of the local Strikes will have an emphasis on environmental justice. There will be at least 12 strikes in Puerto Rico.
- Thousands of people are expected to participate in the New York City strike, included Greta Thunberg. Here is a media pack and details for the press conference will be added soon.
Escalated Actions Post-20th
- The September 20th strikes are just the beginning — and they kick off a week of action around the country. A week of escalated actions are planned the week preceding the global strikes from September 23rd – 28th, with local actions planned in Washington, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Wisconsin, Vermont, and the Bay Area.
- Demonstrating that the fight for climate action is beyond one moment, these actions put a spotlight on key climate justice fights taking place throughout the United States. Actions vary from fossil fuel project shutdowns, to demanding climate town halls, to mass actions against fracking and fossil fuel finance.
- For more on the week of actions, please look at this release.