Every Friday for the last year and a half, Greta Thunberg has participated in a climate strike — and she has inspired millions of students from around the world do the same, striking outside their local government offices on Fridays as part of the Fridays for Future movement. But now, with coronavirus aka COVID-19 spreading all around the world, Greta wants students to stay home, and instead participate in a digital strike, called the #ClimateStrikeOnline.
On Wednesday, Greta explained her stance in a twitter thread. "We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This of course goes for all crises," she tweeted, winking at the climate crisis. "Now the experts urge us to avoid big public gatherings for a better chance to #flattenthecurve and slow the spreading of the Coronavirus."
As seen in the graphic Greta shared, the idea of flattening the curve is us reducing the number of coronavirus cases as time goes on, rather than letting the cases rapidly increase, in order to decrease the overall the damage of the virus. As population health analyst Drew Harris told The New York Times, to help flatten the curve, citizens all over the world need to take efforts like constantly cleaning hands, social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantining.
Greta, ever a fan of science, is unsurprisingly siding with the experts here. "So I personally recommend that we do as the experts say. Especially in high-risk areas," she tweeted. "We young people are the least affected by this virus but it’s essential that we act in solidarity with the most vulnerable and that we act in the best interest of our common society. "
"The climate and ecological crisis is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced but for now (of course depending on where you live) we’ll have to find new ways to create public awareness & advocate for change that don’t involve too big crowds - listen to local authorities," Greta continued.
So instead of encouraging climate activists to take to the streets, Greta is encouraging them to strike from home this Friday (and probably a few Fridays after that). "So keep your numbers low but your spirits high and let’s take one week at the time," she wrote. "You can join the #DigitalStrike for upcoming Fridays — post a photo of you striking with a sign and use the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline!"
The two hashtags are already growing on Twitter. One Twitter user hypothesized that moving the strikes to the internet will allow many more people than usual to participate — and if enough people participate, maybe #ClimateStrikeOnline will trend as a top Twitter hashtag on Friday.
Greta has never missed a Friday strike — even during both of her two-week boat journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, she symbolically posed with her "school strike for the climate" sign for photos. Her #ClimateStrikeOnline has the power to be just as effective — if not more effective — than in-person strikes, all the while encouraging students to stay home and help reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.