By Sofia Velkova and Alex Gliwinski
As part of a global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 25th, the Polish branch of Fridays for Future, Młodzieżowy Strajk Klimatyczny, has called for a demonstration beginning at 11:00 AM at Plac Na Rozdrożu.
Last September, four million people marched through the streets of their countries, many skipping school and work to do so. These people of all different time zones, cultures, and ages were all united by an intent to solve one pressing issue, the looming climate crisis.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg began the strikes for climate in August of 2018 by protesting alone in front of the Swedish Parliament with a single sign explaining her mission. The original sign read ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ meaning school strike for climate and she used it to bring attention to the overlooked climate crisis. Now, nearly 110 weeks later, she continues to march and call for a response to climate change, while millions of people have since joined her in the fight.
She created a movement and an organization entitled Fridays For Future which coordinate youth-led climate strikes all over the world. The organization calls for students to participate in demonstrations every Friday to pressure global leaders to take urgent action against climate change.
While the weekly strikes have a smaller participation, the organization has led global strikes in which they coordinate a mass protest in nearly every country. Strikes on March 15, 2019 and May 24, 2019 garnered hundreds of thousands of protestors but none were as largel as the strikes of September 20th and 27th. Fridays For Future estimates that at least four million people participated in some 6,000 events across over a thousand cities and 185 countries.
Poland saw thousands of young Poles marching in sixty cities with a list of six demands, the main one being that the government begins their battle against climate change with an acknowledgement of the climate crisis. The strikes brought global attention to the underreported crisis.
The Polish branch of Fridays for Future, Młodzieżowy Strajk Klimatyczny, aims to continue their mission this year with another strike happening this Friday, September 25th at 11:00 AM at Plac Na Rozdrożu.
This year, they are extending their goals beyond just an acknowledgment from the government and stretching the issue into a wider scope. A representative of Młodzieżowy Strajk Klimatyczny (MSK) reports that, “this year we want to draw public attention to the issue of climate justice. We wish to recall the human aspect of the climate crisis, which is already highlighting social inequalities. Indigenous people, the poorer, the disadvantaged, are already suffering the greatest effects from anthropogenic climate change.”
The coronavirus has meant that not all cities can have a live protest so some are turning to a hybrid format. A representative of MSK has explained that in some cities like Łódź and Nowy Sącz, they will raise awareness through streamed group performances and film screenings. Other cities like Opole will have in-school strikes and programs related to climate change.
Some larger cities, like Warsaw will actually host strikes but with regulations in place to prevent the spread of the virus. “In cities (…) where strikes will have a physical dimension, we have taken precautions and made sure that there were people responsible for safety – with masks and social distancing as well,” the representative reports. The pandemic has brought a new wave of challenges and yet as the climate crisis still persists, the strikes will as well.