BOSTON — Students from around the globe walked out of class for a youth-led climate strike Friday and organizers say they were expecting more than 10,000 people to turn out for a rally and march in Boston.
Activists are calling for immediate action from the world's governments to halt global warming, reduce fossil fuel consumption and avert environmental catastrophe. The rally in Boston officially kicked off at 11:30 at City Hall Plaza with a number of speakers, including former EPA chief Gina McCarthy, Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, and youth leaders from local environmental organizations, before a march to the State House.
The timing of the strike is tied to next week's U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York next week. Over the past year, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has helped inspire a new generation of activism and urgency on the issue of climate change. Last month, Thunberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a solar-powered boat, landing in New York City. She was in Washington for several days of rallies and lobbying efforts ahead of Friday's global climate strike.
Mass. Sen. Ed Markey thanked the 16-year-old activist for her advice and her activism earlier this week in Washington, and along with other lawmakers hailed her as a "superpower," noting that her activism has drawn a passionate following of children essentially challenging their elders to take action.
"Save your praise," Thunberg replied. "We don't want it," she added, especially if officials intend to talk about climate change "without doing anything about it."
Youth and adult allies in Boston are calling a number of actions locally., including a climate emergency declaration by Governor Charlie Baker and an end to fossil fuel projects.
Boston Public Schools said students attending the climate strike will be allowed an excused absence from school as long as a parent or guardian sends a letter or email allowing the student to attend.
The full schedule for Friday's Boston strike can be found at strikewithus.org/boston.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
Cox Media Group