STOCKHOLM – Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg is back. She joined fellow demonstrators outside the Swedish Parliament on Friday to kick off a day of socially distanced global climate protests.
“The main hope is, as always, to try to have an impact on the level of awareness and public opinion so that people will start becoming more aware,” the 17-year-old told reporters.
The coronavirus outbreak has prevented the Fridays for Future movement that Thunberg inspired from holding its mass rallies in recent months, lowering its public profile.
Thunberg started her solo protests outside Sweden’s parliament in Stockholm on Aug. 20, 2018. Students around the world soon began following her lead, staging regular large protests, and she was invited to speak to political and business leaders at U.N. conferences and the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
Thunberg’s blunt words to presidents and prime ministers, peppered with scientific facts about the need to urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions, have won her praise and awards, but also the occasional criticism and even death threats.
They demand that lawmakers stick to the 2015 landmark Paris climate deal that asks both rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, rising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions in order to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Thousands of primarily young protesters took to the streets of cities across Germany as part of the Friday for Future protests demanding for more to be done to fight climate change.
In the German capital, thousands rallied outside the landmark Brandenburg Gate despite heavy rain. Many, including local activist Luisa Neubauer, wore masks printed with the words “not another degree.” Elsewhere in Berlin, cyclists rode past the main train station and through downtown in a separate protest.
Outside Frankfurt City Hall, demonstrators held signs with slogans like “Environmental protection, not capitalism,” and “If you breathe air, you should care.”
One young woman held a poster of an ostrich with its head stuck in the ground and its posterior on fire. The poster’s slogan read, “Burying your head in the sand won’t help, your butt will still get hot.”
Thousands more took part in demonstrations in Bonn, Aachen, Cologne and elsewhere as part of some 450 registered protests across Germany.
Photo credit: TT News Agency via AP
News source: The Associated Press