Press "Enter" to skip to content

Largest Worldwide Student Climate Strike Ever

Around 1.5 million people in over 120 countries took to the streets on Friday, March 15 as part of a worldwide climate strike, inspired by Greta Thunberg.

Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, shocked that no one seemed to be taking climate change seriously, started the protest movement last summer. She skipped school to sit outside parliament to protest her government’s lack of action on global warming.

Greta Thunberg
The climate strike movement was started by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. Shocked that no one was taking climate change seriously, she began skipping school to sit outside parliament to protest her government’s lack of action.
(Source: ©Anders_Hellberg, Effekt Magazine.)

Climate Change 
Climate change means the change in weather patterns around the world because of human activity. Global warming is one result of climate change. The world is getting hotter, mainly because humans are burning “fossil fuels” like coal, oil, and natural gas to make energy.
The world’s countries have agreed to pollute less, but so far not much has changed. The effects of global warming will make life hard, and sometimes impossible, for most living things. Scientists say humans must take strong action before 2030 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Greta’s protests slowly began to get attention. Soon lots of people were taking part and organizing similar protests around the world. The strikes are usually held on Fridays, which the protesters call “Fridays for Future”. Though many adults have joined the strikes, the protesters are largely younger people who are worried that climate change will affect them much more than it will affect adults.

Since late 2018, massive climate strikes have been held in many countries, including Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Australia, and the UK.

Young people in the School Strike for Climate in Wellington, New Zealand, Date: 15 March 2019, 09:53:20
Tens of thousands of students protested in New Zealand on Friday. This protest is in Wellington, New Zealand.
(Source: David Tong [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

But Friday’s protest was the largest and most widespread ever. There were more than 2,000 separate protests in over 120 countries around the world.

While Europe was still a leader, Friday’s protests were truly global, with strikes also happening in Africa, Asia, Australasia, North America, and South America,.

Demonstrators at Fridays for Future in Corso Palladio, Vicenza, 15th March 2019
In Italy, there were more than 200,000 protesters. This is a picture of the protest in Vicenza, Italy.
(Source: Tiziana Rigodanzo [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

And the numbers were large. Around 300,000 students protested in Germany. Australia, Canada, France, Italy, and the United States all had over 150,000 protesters. There were hundreds of smaller protests across the globe. Even in Hong Kong, China, where it is difficult to protest, around 1,000 students took part in the climate strike.

The protesters are frustrated by the lack of action on climate change. They are demanding that the world’s governments start treating climate change like an emergency right away. As Greta told a group of world leaders, “I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

15 March Global School Strike - School Strike in Hong Kong. Photo from WildAid HongKong
Even in Hong Kong, China, where it is difficult to protest, around 1,000 students took part in the climate strike.
(Source: WildAid HongKong/, via

The protesters say the problem is too big to deal with in small steps. They believe the world must change its politics and the ways that it does business. “We need a whole new way of thinking,” Greta wrote in a recent post on the internet.

Reaction to the student protests has been mixed. Most environmental groups and many politicians have welcomed the student strikes. They think the strikes focus attention on an area where action is badly needed.

Student climate strike outside Massachusetts State House as part of a global day of student climate strikes on March 15, 2019.
Over 100,000 protesters took part in over 400 protests across the US. This climate strike was in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
(Source: NFK Images [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Other politicians have said that the students should remain in school. Some people have even suggested that the students are being “brainwashed” into protesting.

But the leaders of the student strikes are able to clearly explain the scientific facts behind the climate change emergency. Hundreds of scientists have signed a letter in support of the students.

Following Friday’s strike, Greta wrote, “We are just passing on the words of the science. Our only demand is that you start listening to it. And then start acting.”

Did you know…?

Three lawmakers from Norway have suggested Greta as a possible choice for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.



Most news on is appropriate for all ages. When there is news that may not be suitable for all ages, we try to tag it. You can use the setting below to control whether content tagged in this manner is shown.