With the UN Climate Action Summit about to get underway, students are cutting class, and workers are striking worldwide. Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is telling activists to “use the power of democracy to make our voices heard.” And she’s already been heard by Congressional committees.
Elsa Mengistu supports Thunberg as coordinator for Zero Hour at Howard University, just one of 450 campuses involved. She says organized class cutting doesn't happen regularly, and adds that “Thunberg alone has inspired people… on a mass scale... that’s really shifted the paradigm.”
But the students are hardly alone. Workers at multinational companies are striking to demand that employers take action. Weston Fribley, a member of Amazon Employees for Justice, says Jeff Bezo’s company is “capable of totally remaking entire industries when it sets its mind to it.” Microsoft, Facebook, and Google are letting similar strikes happen. Apple hasn’t been heard from.
Pilita Clark of the Financial Times sees a broadening corporate awareness:“Companies recognize that they are existing in an environment in which climate change is rapidly rising up the political agenda. She adds that businesses that don't recognize what's happening risk being seen as "somewhat behind the ball.”
But Clark makes clear that action on climate change won’t come easy. “We're only just at the beginning of understanding what something like a net zero emission goal really means... something more akin to wartime mobilization without an actual war. It's really something that very few generations have ever had to contemplate.”
What questions do you have about climate change?