Fridays for Future marches all around the world

According to the Fridays for Future movement more than four million people in over 160 countries took part in the global climate strike on Friday. They called on politicians to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Greta Thunberg demonstrated in New York, where the UN Climate Change Summit kicks off today, Monday. Can the protesters bring change?

Open/close all quotes
Dnevnik (BG) /

Hand the baton to our children

Since adults won't be able to save the children the latter will have to do it themselves, Dnevnik says:

“We who were born in the 20th century have neither a good explanatory model nor strong hypotheses to predict what will happen to a planet inhabited by nine billion people divided into different nationalities, cultures, religions, economic priorities and information bubbles on social media. All we have is outdated hypotheses. ... But our children are capable of finding solutions to today's problems and an answer to the question: what comes next? For them to do that, however, we must stop telling them reassuring bedtime stories. We must call a spade a spade, admit our own ignorance and hand over the baton.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

The young mustn't let their movement be hijacked

The Fridays for Future movement must remain on its guard, Naftemporiki warns:

“There is a considerable risk that this very promising movement could degenerate into a fad of which politicians and businesspeople take advantage to show how trendy they are. However, the millions of young people who have flooded onto the streets of the world's metropolises have reminded some of us of our own youth and the persistent urge to work towards a better and more equitable world.”

La Tribune de Genève (CH) /

Don't overdo the panic mongering

Scientists, academics and politicians like UN Secretary-General Guterres are following the lead of the young and redoubling their warnings against global warming. The panic-mongering should be kept to small doses, La Tribune de Genève admonishes:

“Will panic get us to do the right thing? Let's say that it is an effective communication tool. But aparat from that what it mainly does is stir up agitation and disorderly conduct. More dangerously, panic sparked by apocalyptic scenarios can lead to a sense of powerlessness, resignation and inaction. Let's travel, drink and feast for as long as we can, say the condemned when they've lost all hope. That's one of the dangers that arises from this year's extraordinary mobilisation for the climate. A little panic can be a good thing. But let's not allow it to incapacitate us.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

The planet will survive without us

Journalist Taavi Libe searches for ways to avert a climate catastrophe in Õhtuleht:

“For planet Earth and all its inhabitants it would have been much healthier if we humans had stayed in the caves. ... From the very beginning our civilizations and cultures have been the result of selfishness and living at the expense of others. ... Perhaps we should reformulate the rescue operation? ... We don't need to take action to save the planet. Planet Earth is entering the next phase in which it will continue to exist without humanity. The main goal of the people in the rescue operation should be to act selfishly and save themselves. If this message is conveyed loudly and clearly to the masses, then perhaps there is hope.” (ES) /

The best generation ever

Guest author Nieves Rey, who is also an environmental activist, calls on the readers of to join today's climate strikes:

“Our planet is dying. The latest IPCC report makes this clear. ... We have the best generation in history, which is taking to the streets to show that there is an alternative way of doing things. And their demands are the best example of how the future of the planet depends on whether we effectively integrate environmental issues into the education system. Born into a society that is worried about the environment, they are fully aware of the threats the planet faces and have developed a sense of responsibility towards nature. ... A commitment that fills us with hope and makes us aware that we must not leave them alone in this struggle. This is our best investment in the future.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

We're not Saint Francis of Assisi

Lidové noviny praises young people's commitment but warns them against taking things too far:

“In their enthusiasm, young people tend to want to tackle all the problems that remain unsolved. But do we really want to renounce everything, like Saint Francis of Assisi? ... Even if you're not a vegetarian you can still cut down on your meat consumption. Our forefathers ate meat once or twice a week and enjoyed it all the more. We don't have to jump in the car every time we go out, often we can just as well walk. Will such compromises be enough to save the planet? Time will tell. But isn't it better to take this middle path and adopt a modest lifestyle while making certain sacrifices than to strike out on a path that even Saint Francis found hard to follow?”

The Economist (GB) /

Capitalism is the solution, not the problem

The Economist counters the criticism of capitalism among environmental activists with the following argument:

“To conclude that climate change should mean shackling capitalism would be wrong-headed and damaging. There is an immense value in the vigour, innovation and adaptability that free markets bring to the economies that took shape over that striped century. Market economies are the wells that produce the response climate change requires. Competitive markets properly incentivised, and politicians serving a genuine popular thirst for action, can do more than any other system to limit the warming that can be forestalled and cope with that which cannot.”

Ouest-France (FR) /

Climate activists endangering democracy

The young demonstrators' attitude is putting democracy at risk, writes author Jean-François Bouthors in Ouest-France:

“In their view the urgency of the issue legitimises illegal acts. ... To save the world we must be willing to go to jail, they say. Such a stance may appear praiseworthy in a Ghandi-like way. But when it turns up in domains other than the environment this political 'mysticism' harbours all manner of excesses, notably the ability to turn one's back on democracy on the grounds that its sluggishness disqualifies it. And that's not the smallest threat posed by the environmental crisis.”

Polityka (PL) /

The protests are already making an impact

Polityka, by contrast, notes with delight that the climate protests are influencing politics:

“This activism is quickly becoming a source of political energy, as this year's elections to the European Parliament have clearly shown. A few months before that commentators were afraid that Europe was facing a 'brown' wave with the rise of the far right. But brown lost out to green. ... The consequences are already evident in the announcements and decisions taken by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. The first hundred days of her term in office are to see the emergence of a new green order that gives top priority to issues of climate protection and environmental reform.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

China and Russia are the true culprits

The climate activists in Europe are appealing to the wrong people, Der Tagesspiegel writes:

“In Germany and in Europe emissions of harmful greenhouse gases have been falling for years, with a total reduction of around 23 percent compared to 1990. ... In China, emissions levels have multiplied since 1990. And the economy that produces the most emissions by far on the planet has no intention of changing that anytime soon. ... Why is it acceptable that China's percentage of greenhouse gas emissions is much higher than its share of the global economy? ... In Russia, the discrepancy between its share of the global economy (three percent) and emissions (five percent) is even worse than in China. So why don't the Berlin students and their colleagues protest outside the Chinese and Russian embassies instead?”

Avvenire (IT) /

Only informed consumers can save the world

Climate protection can't function without the active participation of consumers, Avvenire explains:

“In view of the state of emergency the world is in, innovation must kick in to allow buyers to offer consumers with a broader range of increasingly environmentally-friendly products and services. However this will also require more transparent information and certification, which must be absolutely reliable. ... That would be a sound development and a fitting outcome of the 'Saturdays for Future' - i.e. using Saturdays to encourage critical and responsible consumption - which are now becoming more widespread after the 'Fridays for Future'. They must help to develop a growing consciousness of virtuous climate behaviour.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

What to do in face of impending disaster

If there's no escaping a climate catastrophe people should at least try to do the best they can, says Krytyka Polityczna:

“Knowing how little time we have, we think not just about how to stop the building of new coal mines and power plants. In the face of the impending disaster we also wonder how to spend the rest of our lives. ... It pays to start cultivating compassion now, even before the invisible hand of the free market closes around our throats. We may not be able to save the planet like this, but if a community does survive, the people who live in it may perhaps be kinder to each other.”