“Change is coming”: Millions march in global climate change strike

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Millions march for action on climate change around the world
  • Millions of people around the globe joined in protests to demand “an end to the age of fossil fuels.”
  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg estimated she was joined by 250,000 in New York City.
  • “How we can get more young people involved — I think to just tell them the truth, tell them how it is,” Thunberg told the crowd.
  • Hundreds of Amazon workers walked out of their offices in Seattle.
  • Thousands joined in marches in New York City, Chicago, Denver and more cities across the country.

Millions of people around the world walked out of their schools and workplaces Friday to demand urgent action on climate change. The global climate strikes, which are taking place in more than 150 countries, were scheduled ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit on September 23.

The protests have been organized by young people around the world who are part of the “Fridays for Future” campaign, which has seen students walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand their political leaders take urgent action to address climate change.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg participated in the protests in New York City, where 1.1 million students have been given permission to skip school to join in.

Thunberg addressed the crowd that she estimated to be 250,000.

“How we can get more young people involved — I think to just tell them the truth, tell them how it is,” said Thunberg. “Because when I found out how it actually was, that made me furious so I wanted to do something about it.”

Follow live updates below.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joins hundreds at climate strike

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti thanked the hundreds of protesters for “supporting the Green New Deal, right here.”

“It is time for us to have our 100% zero emission buildings, our 100% zero emission electricity and our 100% zero emission transportation,” he said. “That is our goal. Nothing less.”

Garcetti announced earlier that he would be setting a Youth Council on Climate Action that would be comprised of 17 high school and college students, The Associated Press reported.

Some students walked out of school to take part in the event despite Los Angeles Unified School District officials discouraging students from leaving campuses, instead encouraging on-campus climate-related events.

Garcetti and Los Angeles schools superintendent Austin Beutner among those who visited schools to talk to students about the issue, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Castro, O’Rourke join climate protests

At least two Democratic presidential candidates joined climate protests. Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro attended a march outside of Linn-Mar High School outside of Cedar Rapids and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the Denver climate march.

Both Castro and O’Rourke have released climate change proposals. Castro said Friday his plan aims to have net zero emissions by 2045.

“We have been inspired by young activists on climate,” Castro said.

O’Rourke, who attended a gun violence roundtable earlier Friday, tweeted about the flooding in Houston. “Climate change isn’t a distant threat, it’s already here,” he wrote. “Following the lead of students like @GretaThunberg who I will be striking in solidarity with today, we must do everything to end it.”

MSNBC hosted a climate forum at Georgetown University on Thursday and Friday for Democrats and Republicans running for president.

Hundreds of Amazon workers join climate strike

Hundreds of Amazon workers walked out of their Seattle offices Friday. More than 1,000 tech workers gathered at the Amazon Spheres at 11:30 a.m. and then joined others walking to the City Hall rally, CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV reports.

Amazon said Thursday it had ordered 100,000 electric vans to deliver packages starting in 2021.

Amazon said it emitted 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, a number that comes close to pollution rates of some small nations, KIRO-TV reports.

This is not the first time Amazon employees have pressured the company to do more to combat climate change: Earlier this year, more than 8,000 Amazon staffers signed an open letter to Bezos demanding that Amazon cut its carbon emissions, end its use of fossil fuels and stop working with oil companies who use Amazon’s technology to find drillable oil faster.

“We’re not going to be happy if our planet is literally dying”

In New York City, CBS News spoke with student Alex Roth and her friends.

“We’re not gonna be happy if our planet is literally dying,” Alex said.

Why do they think leaders, world leaders, should listen to 15-year-olds, 16-year-olds?

“Because we are the future,” she said. Another friend agreed, saying “we’re gonna be left to deal with it.”

The climate crusaders were of all ages, including 2-year-old Nil Jensen, who held a “Save the Oceans!” sign.

“When I found out how it actually was, that made me furious,” Thunberg says

Protesters in New York City had completed the 1.3-mile march from Foley Square to Battery Park, at the tip of Manhattan. Thunberg tweeted there were an estimated 250,000 people at the New York City march.

Thunberg addressed the crowd, calling on world leaders to listen to scientific reports that include data on rising sea temperatures, CBS New York reports.

“How we can get more young people involved — I think to just tell them the truth, tell them how it is,” said Thunberg. “Because when I found out how it actually was, that made me furious so I wanted to do something about it.”

Thousands join Portland march

Thousands of students rallied outside Portland City Hall and made demands of Mayor Ted Wheeler, CBS Portland affiliate KOIN reports. They also called for an end to the age of fossil fuels.

The rally began at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Protesters then marched to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for a climate conference.

Portland police said the demonstration Friday was permitted to march in the street starting at around 11:30 a.m. The march route goes from City Hall at Southeast 4th Avenue and Southwest Madison Street and across the Hawthorn Bridge.

Protesters held signs saying things like “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?” and “There’s no planet B.”

School district officials said they couldn’t be more proud.

“We believe this action by our students is a clear example of learning and advocacy we hope for in all our students. The subject matter aligns with both our district policies and core curriculum,” Portland public schools wrote in a letter to parents.

Thunberg says millions attended early marches

Greta Thunberg tweeted Friday saying at least 3 million people attended early protests across the globe, and that was before counting North and South America. She is expected to speak at a rally in New York City on Friday.

Demonstrators in lower Manhattan held signs that read “climate change is real”; “there is no Planet B”: and “if you did your job, we would be in school.”

Manhattan borough president Gale Brewster tweeted video showing protesters filling the streets from Foley Square to Centre Street and Chambers Street and across Broadway.

Brewster is one of a number of local New York City elected officials who were attending the strike, which took place outside City Hall. New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson tweeted he had “never seen so many people before. So inspired by these young people! There are people as far as you can see!”

Thousands join in near Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office

Climate Strike
Google employees hold signs outside of their offices before marching to join others in a climate strike rally at City Hall Friday, September 20, 2019, in San Francisco. Eric Risberg / AP

In San Francisco, thousands rallied near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at the Federal Building at Seventh and Market streets. Protesters took off marching down Market Street at about 10:30 a.m. chanting, “climate change has got to go” and “climate justice now,” CBS San Francisco reports.

They marched to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office at 1 Post Street and they plan to return to the Federal Building for a rally. Traffic and Muni service was blocked along a large segment of Market Street.

Organizers for the San Francisco action said that they are calling on Pelosi and Feinstein to back the Green New Deal, an ambitious climate action plan introduced by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez of New York.

They are also calling on corporations like Bank of America, Amazon and PG&E to divest from the fossil fuel industry and improve their own reliance on renewable energy sources.

Many students from Oakland schools were attending the rally on field trips, district spokesperson John Sasaki said.

Students are also expected to walk out of the University of California at Berkeley. As of about 11 a.m. PT, they were gathering at Sproul Plaza.

Students participating said that dire forecasts of rising global temperatures made them fearful of the consequences if there is not immediate action.

“I’m scared for our future, if we even have one,” said Otto, a 13-year-old student from San Francisco.

Thousands join Chicago strike

Thousands of people joined the strike in downtown Chicago, CBS Chicago reported. Protesters began gathering Friday morning at Grant Park and the plan is to march to Federal Plaza.

The Illinois Chapter of the Youth Climate Strike organized the protest. Speakers started at 12 p.m. CT, with the group calling on Governor J.B. Pritzker to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The bill aims to put the state on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050.

New York City students won’t be punished for leaving school

CBS New York

The New York City Department of Education said that students who had parents’ approval would not get in trouble for attending. Younger students can only leave school with a parent and teachers are barred from atending.

“We applaud our students when they raise their voices in a safe and respectful manner on issues that matter to them. Young people around the world are joining the #ClimateStrike this week–showing that student action will lead us forward,” the New York City Department of Education tweeted on September 12.

There are 1.1. million students in New York City’s public school system, the largest in the country.

Tens of thousands are expected at the downtown rally, and 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg is expected to address the crowd.

Germany agrees $60 billion climate policy package

APTOPIX Germany Climate Protests
Three people stand on ice blocks under gallows to protest against climate change in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, September 20, 2019. AP

The German government announced a $60 billion package of measures to address climate change on Friday as protesters marched across the country to demand urgent action.

“We believe that we can achieve the goals and that we’ve truly laid the foundations for this,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

The country aims to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Despite the environment being one of the most important issues to German voters, Germany’s environmental protection has lagged behind other countries in Europe in recent years, and it’s on course to miss its emissions targets for 2020 by a wide margin, the Associated Press reports.

Kabul climate protesters march despite violence

Approximately 100 climate change protesters marched through the Afghan capital city of Kabul on Friday, following an armed personnel carrier and surrounded by soldiers with guns to protect them, the Associated Press reports.

Afghanistan has been declared the most dangerous country in the world by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

“We know war can kill a group of people,” one of the organizers, Fardeen Barakzai, said. “The problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fighting for power, but the real power is in nature.”

Thousands of protesters turn out in London

Millions around the globe demand action on climate change

Thousands of protesters have turned out in London, CBS News’ Imtiaz Tyab reports, as climate strikes take place across the United Kingdom.

Demonstrators are gathered outside the Houses of Parliament.

Weather experts say climate change is making Britain more rainy: For the past nine years, winters have been 5% wetter on average than they were between 1981 and 2010, according to BBC News.

Germany inches toward new climate policy

Following all-night talks in Berlin, the German government came closer to agreeing new measures for tackling climate change on Friday, local media reported, as protesters took to the streets to demand action.

How Europe’s biggest economy decides to tackle greenhouse gas emissions is being closely watched by other nations.

The environment is a major issue for German voters, and students have been holding large weekly protests, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to present details of the plan later on Friday.

Low turnout in Nigeria’s largest city

The turnout for climate strike protests in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, is low, BBC News reports. Approximately 30 people were in the streets.

Because it’s on the coast, Lagos will be affected by rising sea levels. More people were protesting in Abuja, however, where hundreds gathered.

“I want to breathe clean”

Indian commuters drive amidst heavy smog in New Delhi on December 6, 2018. Getty Images

New Delhi in India is one of the world’s most polluted cities, and dozens of climate protesters gathered outside the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on Friday as part of the worldwide climate strikes.

“I want to breathe clean,” demonstrators shouted, according The Associated Press. Some carried signs with slogans like: “There is no Earth B.”

An estimated 100,000 children under 5 are killed by air pollution in India every year.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is dying

Around the Games - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Day 8
An athlete swims near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on April 12, 2018. Getty

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, but half of its coral has died.

Scientists say warming waters are what pose the greatest threat to the system, last year causing a “mass bleaching event” that “cooked” it, BBC News reports. And coral is struggling to regrow.

The United Nations is considering adding the reef to its list of endangered sites.

“We are not sinking, we are fighting”

Australians Gather As Part Of Global Climate Strike
Thousands of protesters march as part of a climate strike rally on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Getty Images

Thousands of protesters in Asia and the Pacific kicked off Friday’s global climate strike, which is expected to be the largest climate change protest in history.

In Australia, an estimated 300,000 people took to the streets. Events also took place on the low-lying islands of Vanuatu and Kiribati, which are facing disaster as sea levels rise.

“We are not sinking, we are fighting,” children in Kiribati chanted.

“There are a lot of people here who can feel the effects of climate change already, for example with typhoons,” one 23-year-old protester in the Philippines told French news agency AFP. Experts say increasingly violent storms and rising sea levels are already having an impact on the island nation.

Businesses supporting the climate strikes

Some businesses are letting workers take the day off to participate in the strikes, while others are closing outright, CBS News MoneyWatch reporter Irina Ivanova reports. More than 7,000 companies have pledged to draw attention to the protests by either donating ad space or putting banners on their sites.

CBS News put together a list of the businesses that are closing here.


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