Today, Friday the 15th of March, the school strikes for climate take on a bigger shape, with a global strike for young and old. Over 100 countries are having registered strikes, protests and/or marches. I was there on the one in Stockholm, and here’s how it’s going!
Almost exactly 2 years ago I wrote my first blog post, which was about the March for Science. It was the first time I ever took to the streets for a cause. You can read all about my mental discomfort in the original post. Now, I still don’t see myself as a militant activist, but just as then, a topic came close enough to my heart to make me get over myself and show up.
At a bit past 8am, I show up with the earliest of strikers. It’s rainy and cold, but people flock around a specific corner on Mynttorget, Gamla Stan. When I get closer, it turns out Greta Thunberg, the girl who started the school strikes for climate, was already there, holding interview after interview. I tried not to get too starstruck. I have a lot of respect for her, but also feel sorry for the fact that she had her life turn upside down, and now has 20 camera’s pushing in her face. So I stay to the side.
By 9am, a crowd starts to build up. From my guesstimation they are mainly high-school aged, and the adults seem to be keeping to the side, slightly uncomfortable. I was right there with them. And uncomfortable. Not a natural striker. I tried to contact everyone I know who might be there, but the few who will come will only join in the afternoon. The discomfort continues, but the atmosphere was nice. Student were encouraging the passing bus drivers to “honk for the climate”, and many of them did so enthusiastically. Half an hour later it turned into a nice crowd, but my feet were freezing off at this point.
So, in order to keep my limbs, I decided to walk into Gamla Stan for a hot drink in a café, and to start thinking about this blog post. Ten minutes later, who walks into the café but Greta herself, surrounded by co-organizing friends, and a couple of cameras. There I sat just 5 meters away, fighting with myself on whether I should be a groupie and go over to ask if I can take a picture, or if I should just get over myself and leave. Couple of minutes later, I scrambled together all my courage, go over, tell then I’m writing about today’s event and ask if I can take a picture of their table. They seemed happy it was only that, and I am extra aware of what a frustrating leach I am… but I figured I wouldn’t be happy had I let the moment go without a picture. Sorry Greta. Anyway, here you go dear reader, hope you’re happy.
After warming up, it was time to head to Sergels torg, from which a march left at 11.30. Finally I managed to catch another KI friend who is crazy enough about the environment to feel like coming to a global march is a thing to do. And clearly many more Stockholmers though the same, because oh my, there were a lot of people in the march! Thousands I’d say, but let’s see what an official source has to say about it 😉 Once arriving back at Mynttorget (or as close as one could get), it was totally impossible to make our way to the stage, and get a glimpse of the talks that would be given there, so you’ll have to do with a long distance shot.
Personally I’m very happy there was such a turnout, as so far my home country, Belgium, has had a lot more people taking to the streets for the climate Fridays. (Good on you Belgium!)
Anyway… May the climate be with you, and you with the climate!
Pictures: taken by me
Map with events: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/events/map