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    Clubs in Action: Global Climate Strikes

    Last month there were climate strikes around the world, and almost eight million people walked out on the streets of the entire globe, more than four million (and counting!) of them in Europe. Following the lead of young people, the Global Climate Strike from September 20–27 showed how many people are determined, powerful and committed to demanding climate action. To see a short video (3:15 min.) from some of the cities where marches were held, click here: Global Climate Strike There were many FAWCO clubs which participated as well; read on to hear (and see) stories from four clubs …

    Cologne

    Cologne 2On the 20th of September, AIWC of Cologne members gathered to march in Cologne 3a local climate strike. Worldwide, strikes were organized on the September 20, with an estimated 7.6 million people protesting during the week of global climate strikes from September 20–27. Youth who have been striking every Friday (called the Fridays for Future movement) called on adults to join these global strikes. We decided to show our solidarity by joining the march.
    After preparing signs, we headed towards the area where the march was to begin. Cologne expected 20,000 participants, but as many as 70,000 people attended, which forced police to close roads in the area affected. We marched as best we could in the overcrowded streets, enjoying the clever signs of other marchers and the upbeat mood of the peaceful protest. Several members brought their children along, and it felt truly multigenerational, all marching toward a common goal: to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change, and convince governments that system change is needed now. It was an important march to attend, and we came away feeling uplifted by the spirit of the protesters and united with the people of Cologne.     Stacy Kimmig (AIWC Cologne)

    Madrid

    Joan w kidsWhile there was a small gathering for Climate Strike IMG 1567activities on Friday, September 20, the palm tree camelenvironmental movement in Madrid had pregnant ladychosen September 27 as the day to march. The route started in Atocha and ended at the Plaza del Sol. That’s where our family went, as I was still in my walking boot after breaking my foot. It was very important to me that we bring our kids to this – especially since they will live longer on this planet than I will. There was a broad range of estimates of how many were in attendance. What I personally saw were a couple of thousand. Since the event was aligned with the Spanish timeline, we did not stay long after the group arrived at the Plaza del Sol, but we took pictures of ourselves and friends plus our favorite signs.     Joan Evers (AWC Madrid)

    Zurich

    Zurich 3An enormous number of people turned out for the first climate strike in Zurich some months ago.Zurich strike 2 My granddaughter, Anja Steden, said that there were so many people massed in the town square where it started that it took ages for everyone to get funneled into the street to start marching. At first it was mostly teens and twenty-somethings; students.

    I went to the third climate strike, and there were many young families and some oldies as well. There is a group in Switzerland called KlimaSeniorinnen (senior women for the climate), and they also go to the strikes, bearing placards. The strike I went to was held in a large town square, and people were encouraged to bring plants in pots. There was a plethora of enormous plants and trees in pots being pulled on kids’ wagons, and when the march got going, the trees moved through the streets. Somewhat later, this square was covered in sod and plants – a temporary but quite fascinating measure! Particularly so as this square had been essentially a huge parking lot until autos were banned from it some time ago.

    The Zurich press is full of “green” articles these days. Greta Thunberg has certainly started something, and I just hope it continues and doesn’t fade out. She told the assembled summit participants in New York that her generation would never forgive ours if we did not take real action. There are some serious political moves taking place in Switzerland – may they continue!     Karen Rudin (AWC Zurich)

    The Hague

    20190927 110938The date and location chosen for a Global Climate Strike in The Netherlands was Friday, September 27 in The Hague. Since I live in the southern part of the country, my day started with a bike ride to the train station, where I headed off for The Hague. It was heartening to see that I was not alone: trains to The Hague from across the country were crowded with climate strikers carrying signs. I met club IMG 6018members on a square across from the train station where the march would begin, and people kept pouring into the area. The turnout was significantly above what the organizers expected, with estimates putting participation at 20,000 – 25,000 people. Due to these massive numbers, the walking route had to be shortened and the end location changed. After a couple of speeches and some music, the group slowly started walking on a route through downtown and past numerous government buildings. There were many young people marching, but also families and older people, and all progressed in good harmony. Surprising was the fact that the vast majority of the signs carried 20190927 124446were in English rather than Dutch, and there 20190927 132449were some fabulous slogans! As we were making our way to a larger square for the walk's end, we passed a point that had been at our start and were surprised to see streams of people just starting out. When we arrived at the end of the IMG 5993route, there was a vegetarian restaurant handing out metal bowls of delicious pumpkin soup for an optional donation. While the predicted 20190927 151102rain never materialized, the soup hit the spot, and participants relaxed on the grassy field and chatted with each other. As I looked around, I could only thank 16-year-old Greta Thunberg for striking on her own so many months ago in Sweden; it has resulted in getting so many others all over the world on their feet for the climate. Never underestimate the power of a single person’s actions!     Anne van Oorschot (AWC The Hague) 

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