Highlights From the Biggest Climate Strike the World Has Ever Seen

September 21, 2019 24 photos
  • Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joins demonstrators on Broadway in New York City. An estimated 250,000 people marched in that city as part of the youth-led Global Climate Strike to demand government action on climate change. Organizers have estimated about 4 million people took to the streets in thousands of cities worldwide. In August of 2018, just over a year before Friday’s international action, Thunberg alone started a school strike in front of the Swedish parliament.

  • Demonstrators carry a banner Friday in New York City enblazoned with what 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told members of the U.S. Congress on Sept. 18: “Unite behind the science.”

  • A protester’s sign reflects the overt, muscular and adamant disdain many of the youth have for prior generations, politicians and capitalism.

  • Honoring Thunberg is a sign in Swedish that reads: “School strike for climate.”

  • Crowds gather in downtown Manhattan for the mass demonstration.

  • a sign at a protest reads 'Save the planet or I'm leaving'

    New York City officials announced that 1.1 million of its students would not be penalized for attending the global youth climate strike, but they would still need written consent from a parent or guardian to participate.

  • The United States has produced more emissions than any country since the start of the Industrial Age. Yet President Donald Trump continues to roll back dozens of environmental regulations.

  • Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation leads a throng down Broadway.

  • Indigenous resistance activists have been fighting for the climate since the era of colonization.

  • ExxonMobil knew about climate change almost 40 years ago and understood the science before it became a public issue. Instead of staging an intervention, the fossil fuel megacorp spent millions to promote misinformation.

  • “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • Organizers of Friday’s action said there were demonstrations in all 50 American states.

  • New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, march down Broadway. Earlier in the day, De Blasio announced he was dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

  • Refusing to support the Green New Deal, sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, is tantamount to a deal-breaker for many protesters.

  • Xiuhtezcati Martines, a 19-year-old indigenous climate activist and one of the plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States.

  • Chants of “Fuck Wall Street” during the march, a carry-over from the Occupy Wall Street movement, greeted protesters in Battery Park.

  • Authorities make one of the few arrests Friday in New York. When police began using their bikes to shove people onto the sidewalk, it ended up in a confrontation with a young female protester.

  • To the delight of the climate strikers, Willow Smith (and her brother, Jaden) showed up and performed an unannounced set in New York City.

  • The young environmental activist who inspired the global movement was also a featured speaker Friday in New York City.

  • Thunberg takes the stage.

  • According to event organizers, 5,800 actions took place Friday in 161 countries.

  • Marchers raise their voices.

  • An exhausted protester takes a breather.

  • The kids, and many who used to be kids, took to the streets.