BERLIN — Environmental activists, many of them students taking time out from school, staged rallies around the world on Friday to demand that leaders take stronger action to curb climate change amid dire warnings of an increasingly hotter globe if nothing is done soon.
The issue has climbed the political agenda in many countries as scientists are warning that the world faces dangerous temperature rises unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming years.
Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg took part in a protest in Berlin, two days before the German election in which climate change has been a major topic.
The idea for a global “climate strike” was inspired by Thunberg’s solo protest in Stockholm three years ago. It snowballed into a mass movement until the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to large gatherings. Activists have only recently started staging smaller gatherings.
Thunberg was scheduled to speak at the Berlin protest. German activists have referred to the September 26 election as the “vote of the century,” arguing that the decision taken by the next government will influence the country’s efforts to tackle climate change for decades to come. The issue has been a major topic during the election campaign.
In Israel, the mayor of Haifa met with young students planning to protest as part of weekly international rallies started by Thunberg.
Some Israeli parents were also planning to demonstrate Saturday to call for more action on climate change.
The issue has also topped the agenda in Iceland, which heads to the polls for general elections on Saturday. All parties running for seats in the North Atlantic island nation’s parliament acknowledge global warming as a force of change in a sub-Arctic landscape, but disagree on how to respond to it.
While many of the protests worldwide were family affairs, activists in Britain blocked the country’s busiest ferry port Friday to highlight the climate crisis in the UK.
Global climate protests were muted during the coronavirus pandemic due to restrictions on public gatherings, but with many countries relaxing rules again thousands are expected on the streets of Berlin, Milan and other large cities.