Greta Thunberg is no stranger to strikes. Every Friday since August, the 16-year-old activist has gone on strike from school, instead opting to picket outside of the Swedish Parliament. So it's no surprise that this week, while spreading word about the climate crisis in London, Greta agreed that it was time for a general strike. In fact, one is already in the works: the Earth Strike. Read on to learn all about the upcoming Earth Strike, how you can get involved, and why Greta thinks a general strike is the best solution when it comes to mitigating climate change.
According to its website, the Earth Strike is a general strike to save the planet, and it is "demanding immediate climate action from governments and corporations worldwide." The group is targeting "institutions of production," aka the small group of large companies who are causing colossal greenhouse gas emissions. While it's important to make lifestyle changes at the individual level, Earth Strike believes that the bulk of the blame for climate change should be put on these large companies, as opposed to individual consumers, since they create so many emissions.
The Earth Strike group was founded in November 2018, and their primary project is planning the strike, which is scheduled for Sept. 27. That far-off date was chosen because it's the anniversary of Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, which criticized the synthetic pesticide industry and launched the environmentalist movement, the Earth Strike team says.
Throughout 2019, Earth Strike is hosting several other protests leading up to the September strike. January 15 was the Earth Strike Kickoff Protest; this Saturday, April 27 will be the Halfway Earth Day Protest; and August 1 (which is when Earth Overshoot Day was last year) will be the Final Pre-Strike Protest. Click here to look up a Halfway Earth Day Protest in your area this weekend, here to see if an Earth Strike has been announced in your area in September yet, and here to learn about other ways to get involved with the Earth Strike.
While on a panel in London earlier this week, an audience member asked Greta and the other panelists if it was time for a general strike, to which they all responded affirmatively, according to The Guardian. “This is not just young people being sick of politicians. It’s an existential crisis. It is something that will affect the future of our civilisation. It’s not just a movement. It’s a crisis and we must take action accordingly," Greta said at the same London event, The Guardian noted. "Civil disobedience is important to show this is an emergency. We need to do everything we can to put pressure on the people in power,” she said in another speech this week, according to Common Dreams.
The time to act on the climate crisis is now, and The Guardian's McEver Dugan and Evan Cholerton provided an interesting opinion on why a strike may be our best bet at this point. "There is no greater way to capture the attention of the public, and the powers that be, than a general labour strike. An old and effective strategy, it is the holy grail of activism," they wrote in their op-ed. "Some will inevitably argue that labour action is too disruptive, and too messy, but that’s the very point. The system causing this crisis needs to be disrupted ... We simply don’t have the time to forge a new tool from scratch."
It will be interesting to see how Earth Strike continues to unfold between now and Sept. 27, as well as how Greta continues to lead this movement against climate change.