The first global Fridays for Future climate strike in two years stands in solidarity with Ukraine, urging leaders to embargo Russian fossil fuels while calling for climate reparations.

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Students and young people around the world have taken to the streets on March 25 calling for greater climate action and climate reparations in the first global Fridays for Future climate strike in two years.  

Fridays for Future ,a youth-led movement that was first introduced by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, last hosted demonstrations at the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. This latest edition however, saw hundreds of protests taking place across all seven continents, spanning from New Zealand to the US. 

With a shared rallying call “People Not Profit”, each chapter of the climate strike is demanding their respective countries to “follow through on the demands from Indigenous, black, anti-patriarchal and diverse marginalised communities to get their lands back, giving resources to the most affected communities by the climate crisis for adaptation, loss and damages,” the website states. All of this in the form of climate reparations. 

Wealthy nations have failed to deliver on the promise to provide an annual USD$100 billion climate finance to poor and developing countries from 2020 onwards to aid climate mitigation and adaptation. At COP26, rich countries have pledged to do so by 2022. 

One of the biggest calls at the global strikes was to give up on fossil fuels, with some urging to embargo any purchase of Russian oil and gas in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. The movement aims to highlight how current conflicts and social injustices around the world are all linked to the climate crisis. 

“We shouldn’t treat them individually, but question the systems behind them,” said Jule Pehnte, an activist with Fridays for Future Germany. “For example, the war in Ukraine is a war financed by our fossil fuel purchases.” Standing in solidarity with Ukraine, youth protests urging world leaders to make a faster transition to renewable energy; a move that could hurt Vladimir Putin’s economy and help the climate at the same time.

Though they believe there is no competition between their climate struggles and the current crises abroad, activists like Joy Koech from Fridays for Future Kenya worry that severe floods and droughts that are driving millions into a humanitarian disaster are rarely perceived as urgent. The climate strike is to remind people what’s still at stake. 

Other social concerns brought to the conversation include indigenous, LGBT and women’s rights – their experiences intrinsic overlap with climate change – as well as topics like land grabbing, competition over limited resources and overconsumption.

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Featured image by: Marco Verch/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)