CULTURE

Best Protest Signs You Missed at the Global Climate Strike

To best capture the zeitgeist of end-of-the-world activism, here are some of the best protest signs from the climate strike.

While climate strikers attempted to shut down Washington, D.C. on Monday, the movement to stop climate change has already gifted us with immediate results.

Granted, policy makers didn't leap to action and a hoax even circulated Facebook that hypocritical "eco warriors" had trashed Hyde Park in London while protesting (a bogus claim that was quickly debunked). But on Monday, the United Nations held their Climate Action Summit for world leaders to create "concrete, realistic plans." A U.N. official said the meeting could be a "slingshot" to mobilize world leaders to reduce emissions and limit global warming. Even Donald Trump, who was not scheduled to attend, made an unexpected appearance.

But no, the most immediate gratification from climate strike is the bevy of protest signs that mix calls to action with meme culture, text speak, and cult classic teen movies. Led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Global Climate Strike movement resulted in strikes in 150 countries, spanning across all 7 continents. The demands, as listed on the climate strike website, are simple: "We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart."

In New York City, over 250,000 protesters took over downtown Manhattan, thousands more marched in major cities like Denver and Chicago, and #ShutDownDC became a trending topic on Twitter as protesters continued the movement in the nation's capital. To best capture the zeitgeist of end-of-the-world activism, here are some of the best protest signs from the climate strike.

Popdust writer Dan K. showing up for climate change

Popdust writer Dan K. showing up for climate

Music Lists

12 Black Indie Musicians to Support on Bandcamp Today

Bandcamp is waiving revenue shares today, and you should support POC artists.

Today is another Bandcamp Friday, meaning until midnight tonight, the platform will be waiving revenue shares and letting artists take 100 percent of profits.

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CULTURE

New York City Welcomes Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

The 16-year-old will take to Foley Square to spearhead a global strike on September 20.

Greta Thunberg touched down on the shores of New York yesterday after a two-week journey at sea, but her real journey has just begun.

The Swedish teenager rose to prominence last year with her "School Strikes for Climate," which have since sparked a worldwide movement. She's since become one of the leading faces in climate activism, representing young people's refusal to tolerate the ignorance of their elders.

Sixteen-year-old Thunberg has spent the past two weeks traveling to New York City via solar-powered yacht, which was chosen in order to avoid a carbon-heavy airplane flight. The journey—which was obsessively followed by activists and European media and much-maligned by critics—culminated with a landing on the shores of Coney Island, Brooklyn, and her final destination was a port off Lower Manhattan. She was welcomed by excited crowds of activists and fans.

Thunberg has a packed itinerary, which includes high-profile meetings with some of the world's most powerful officials. On Friday, September 20, she'll be leading a worldwide Climate Strike, and millions of people will be taking to the streets to call for aggressive global action on climate change. Find your local strike (or start your own) using this website.

Thunberg will be attending New York City's strike, which begins with a march in Foley Square and ends with a rally in Battery Park, where speakers, performers, and Thunberg herself will take the stage. If you want to be more involved in this event, NYC is having an art build on August 30 and 31, and the group Fridays for Future will be organizing other logistical actions in preparation for the strike. Also for NYC folks: Ethical Culture is hosting strike planning meetings every Wednesday from 6-8PM, and Greta herself will be striking each Friday, starting with a strike on Friday, 8/30 at Ralph Bunche Park outside of the United Nations from 11-2PM.

commondreams.org

Participants hope that mass action will influence several important upcoming climate meetings, which will be attended by Thunberg. The first will be the Youth Climate Summit at the United Nations in Manhattan on September 23rd. The next is the COP25 summit in Santiago, Chile, which takes place in December.

The young activist recently announced that she's taking a year-long sabbatical from school to focus on her activism. Her actions manifest the emotions and thoughts of many students who are asking, "What's the point in going to school and working towards our future if there is no future?"

As Thunberg put it in 2018, "We cannot solve the crisis without treating it as a crisis. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you're stealing their future in front of their very eyes."

Yet she's also resolutely hopeful. "It is still not too late to act," she reminded the European Parliament in a recent speech. "It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible."

Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for her work. She has mobilized millions of strikers around the world, and she's given hope and a sense of urgency to countless others. She also has been heavily criticized, mostly by conservative outlets and European nationalists. One British businessman even went as far as to Tweet, "Freak yachting accidents do happen in August…" She was also described as a "teenage puppet" by a member of Trump's transition team and a "prophetess in shorts" by a conservative French politician.

Many of these criticisms have taken on a misogynistic undertone, resembling those lobbed at another young, powerful female activist—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This may not be incidental, since the kind of global structural overhaul that human survival requires necessitates a revamp of many patriarchal and conservative ideas based in traditional ways of doing things. "For climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity," proposed one study that linked misogynistic comments about Thunberg and Ocasio-Cortez to toxic masculinity.

Thunberg, however, is not advocating for any particular shift in gender dynamics, nor any politician's agenda. Instead, she's all about ensuring human survival by adjusting our actions based on scientific fact.

As the Malitzia II sailed towards the New York City skyline, a banner reading "Unite Behind the Science" waved proudly above it. Unfortunately, the scientific consensus about the dire consequences of climate change hasn't been enough to mobilize humanity into acting. That has required one particularly outspoken teen activist, and New York City is lucky to have her here.