September 21, 2019

Half a Million People in the US Strike for Climate Action, An End to Fossil Fuels; Over 4 Million Globally

PRESS RELEASE — For immediate release

20th September 2019


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Photo & video available here and here

September 20th marks the biggest distributed climate mobilization ever seen, marking the start of a week of action for climate action

  • In New York City, an estimated 250,000 took to the streets, with tens of thousands respectively in Washington D.C., Miami, Minneapolis, Portland, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle and more
  • 500,000 people joined climate strikes in the United States today
  • 1,100 Actions took place across the United States in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and Guam
  • In the United States, people lifted up youth demands calling for a just transition to 100% renewables by 2030, a halt to all leasing and permitting for fossil fuel extraction, protections for frontline communities, indigenous people, and biodiversity through transformative and decisive climate action
  • 5225 Actions took place in 156 countries all over the world
  • 73 Trade Unions and 820 civil society organizations supporting
  • 2,500 Companies and 6,323 Websites joining the Digital Climate Strike
  • Over 2000 scientists from over 40 countries pledged support and joined mobilizations around the world

At rallies around the country, youth and adults hand in hand demanded climate action and called for an end to the era of fossil fuels. School strikers, unions, businesses, teachers, scientists, celebrities and religious organizations were among those who participated in mobilizations.

In New York City, an intergenerational and multiracial line-up of speakers took the stage, including New York City and national youth, Indigenous leaders, Puerto Rican community members spoke passionately the realities of the climate crisis and the need to phase out fossil fuels, hold polluters accountable, and take climate action at the scale of the crisis. Artemisa Xakriabá, an indigenous Amazonian youth leader, and Marisol Rivera, a 13 year-old Hurricane Sandy survivor were among those who spoke. Celebrities including Jade and Willow Smith performed, hyping up hundreds of thousands of people.

Greta Thunberg, 16 year old Swedish climate activist, was the final speaker of the program, urging communities to keep up the fight and calling on world leaders to listen to the science of climate change and take immediate action.

Coordinated by Future Coalition, the U.S. youth-led strikes includes Earth Uprising, Fridays for Future USA, Extinction Rebellion-Youth, Sunrise, Zero Hour,Indigenous Youth Council and Earth Guardians. The Youth Climate Strike Coalition is steering the national campaign, with active support, participation and collaboration from an Adult Climate Strike Coalition, which includes leading national organizations such as, Greenpeace, SEIU and March On. Youth and adults, institutional and grassroots organizations, climate-focused and social justice groups, are coming together as a unified front to demand transformative action on climate.

From NYC to Jakarta, from Karachi to Amman, from Berlin to Kampala, from Istanbul to Québec, from Guadalajara to Asunción, in big cities and small villages, millions of people joined hands and gathered their voices in defense of the climate. The demands are as diverse as the regions they are coming from, but the ultimate ask is unique: to stop burning fossil fuels and take real actions to overcome the climate crisis.

May Boeve, Executive Executive Director of said, “Today we saw a movement, made up of people from all ages and backgrounds coming together and calling for the end of coal, oil, and gas. No matter what differences we have, we are together now because we are fighting for our future.

September 20th was a demonstration of intent, of 4 million people who took time off from work or school to say that they are ready. Ready to move on and make the changes we need for a future free from fossil fuels and based in climate equity and justice.”

Today’s demonstrations mark the beginning of a global mobilization which will span until next Friday, September 27th. The climate week will surround the UN Climate Summit being held on the 23rd of September, which will gather world leaders in an attempt to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels, to implement the Paris Agreement and meet the climate challenge.

“We have shown that we are prepared to take action. Now the governments need to follow through to act at the source of the flames that are engulfing our planet: fossil fuels. And they must prove their intentions in concrete terms: What are their plans for phase out coal, oil, and gas production? When are their deadlines and how will they fund the transition so it’s fair for everyone?

There is no more time to lose. We must start now to implement the changes we need to tackle the climate crisis and create a better world. This will be the most challenging time of our lives but the marches today give us hope not just of survival but that we can thrive,” May Boeve continued. 

A week of escalated actions are planned the week preceding the global strikes from September 23rd – 27th, with local actions planned in Washington, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Wisconsin, Vermont, and the Bay Area. Demonstrating that the fight for climate action is beyond one moment, these actions put a spotlight on key climate justice fights taking place throughout the United States. Actions, vary from fossil fuel project shutdowns to demanding climate town halls to mass actions against fracking and fossil fuel finance.


Thanu Yakupitiyage, US Communications, [email protected]; 413-687-5160

Monica Mohapatra, US Communications, [email protected]

Lindsay Meiman, US Communications, [email protected]




“Our world as we know it will no longer exist if we continue down the trajectory that we’re going. Something must be done. Elected officials and world leaders have shown us that they do not yet have the courage to take the action necessary to save the planet on their own. And so we must show them. We must tell why it’s important. The solutions are out there. There is still time to do something. There is still time to fix what we’ve broken. But we must act now.” – Katie Eder, Executive Director, Future Coalition 

Xiye Bastida, youth strike leader with Fridays for Future – New York City, said: “September 20 isn’t a goal, it’s a catalyst for future action. It’s a catalyst for the engagement of humanity in the protection of Earth. It’s a catalyst for realizing the intersectionality that the climate crisis has with almost every other issue. It’s a catalyst for the culmination of hundreds of climate activists that won’t stop fighting until the climate emergency is over.”

“Young people in more than 120 countries are taking to the streets to demand that our political leaders treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is. Fossil fuel CEOs will stop at nothing to squeeze every last drop of money from the earth — but our generation is mobilizing by the thousands and will strike again and again until we win. The momentum from today shows that any candidate for the American presidency who wants to win our generation’s votes must commit to making the Green New Deal the number-one priority of their administration.” Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director, Sunrise Movement

“We are striking because business as usual is a death sentence to those already on the frontlines of the climate breakdown as well as generations to come. To make it through this crisis we need to tear down the systems that oppress us and rebuild our society to be just, sustainable, and respectful of the interconnected web of life of which we are just one part. We owe it to our planet and to ourselves to fight for a better future with everything that we have.” – Sophia Geiger, National Coordinator, Fridays For Future

“Because of the actions of the United States government and the fossil fuel industry, my generation has never known a world free from the impacts of climate change. Time is running out. This decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet. This is our time to join in solidarity with communities around the world to fight for a just future. This is why we strike.” – Vic Barrett, Co-plaintiff Juliana v. United States

“Climate change is the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced, and it will affect our generation the most. That’s why at the global climate strike on September 20th, youth must lead the way and demand climate action NOW from our world leaders” – Alexandria Villaseñor, 14, school striker and founder of Earth Uprising

“I am striking because climate change is the most formidable challenge humankind has ever faced. With my generation’s unrivaled passion, idealism, and enthusiasm, if change is to happen, it will be because we pressed aging politicians into action. If we don’t come together and create change now, future generations will remember us as the people who stood idly as our world burned.” – Ben May, President and Founder, ThinkOcean Society

“My Indian brothers and sisters feel the greatest impacts of the climate crisis but are entrapped in a system of oppression that prevents them from doing anything. I strike for them and all those left without a voice” – Ritvik Janamsetty, Press Coordinator, Earth Uprising

“I strike for my family in India who are forced to breathe toxic air everyday. I strike against the systems that cause them to be hit first and worst by the climate crisis. I strike because though the climate crisis will hit marginalized communities the most, corporate greed is universal.” – Supriya Patel, Partnerships Coordinator, Earth Uprising 

“As the child of Chinese immigrants, education is one of the most important pillars of my life. My parents sacrificed everything so my sisters and I could obtain a higher education and lead a better life than they did. I’m striking and skipping school today so other students and I can go to school tomorrow.” – Wendy Gao, Technical Coordinator, Earth Uprising

“I strike because I feel small and voiceless in a world deaf to its own demise. United together, young people will be seen and heard. Our calls for climate action and climate justice cannot be ignored any longer.” – Nikayla Jefferson, Sunrise Movement San Diego  

“I’m striking because pretending like climate change is a problem for the future puts the security of my future, the future of my peers, and the future of the planet at stake…for what? I want action and I want it right now. Not in 5 years, not in 10. I want it today. I will not be ignored any longer.” – Christina Alexakos, Student, Chicago, Il 

“I’m striking because I would like to have a future to grow old in and to have my future children grow old in” – Aidan Dever, Student, Lakewood, Ohio

“I’m striking to add as many people as possible to this. To wake up our world leaders to this environmental crisis.” – Deanna Cousart, Greensboro, NC

“I am striking because we are faced with a global threat unlike any we’ve encountered before. This is not partisan, but purely a matter of those in power deciding what is more important: their money, or the people who gave them said power.” – Rachael Britt, Co-Leader, Earth Guardians Omaha

“I’m striking because our government has failed at their legal duties to protect our futures” – Isaac Augspurg, Student, Gainesville, FL

“I am striking to show the world, such as those in control of how production is being run especially with fossil fuel that we no longer have a choice: either fleeting fossil fuel or flourishing future.” – Catherine Barr, Student, Illinois 

“It’s time our leaders, both corporate and governmental, hear us loud and clear: there’s no time to wait. The climate crisis is already here and you need to do something about it, or our blood will be on your hands.” – Noah Plofker, Student, New York, NY 


“Communities representing every race, ethnicity, and generation have come together to demand real climate action from elected officials and those running for office. This intergenerational mobilization is backed by millions who refuse to sit by while the Trump administration, hand-in-hand with fossil fuel executives, continues their campaign of climate denial and policy rollbacks, all while we face extreme heat waves, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. We are demanding economic transformation that builds a sustainable, healthy, and livable future for all. Today we saw an incredible uprising on the national and local level to demand climate justice and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for decades of negligence and damage.” – Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America Director, 

“If anyone out there has been feeling defeatist about our ability to truly fight against climate catastrophe, just look out onto the streets. You’re looking at the youth of America knowing just what to do. And we’re all in to support them. You can be sure we’ll see this play out at the ballot boxes in 2020.” – Vanessa Wruble, Executive Director, March On

“The youth climate strikers have have shown the world what true leadership on climate looks like. Now, for the first time, they are asking adults to join them. This is more than just another march for climate – these worldwide strikes have the potential to be the largest mass mobilization on climate in human history. By striking in solidarity with youth climate leaders, adults have the power to disrupt the business-as-usual politics that have led us to the brink of climate destruction.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club 

Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union said, “SEIU is proud to support the courageous students and young people across this country who are taking action for climate justice. We join our voices to their demand for an end to the corporate greed that is both polluting our planet and holding working people in poverty. As we fight for Unions for All, we will build the power to hold polluting corporations accountable and win climate justice for all, no matter where we are from or what color we are.”

Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy said, “For generations communities of color and low-income communities have survived through the real and devastating impacts of the climate crisis. It’s from these lived experiences that we know that climate justice is racial justice. Two years ago, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving more than 3,000 dead and many without homes or electricity for months after. Hurricanes like Maria are becoming more and more common, along with wildfires, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, and low-income communities and communities of color are most likely to be the worst affected. Environmental racism has segregated Black and brown people into areas that are more polluted and more at-risk for disaster. Politicians and first responders ignore the pain and devastation to keep these communities from necessary recovery and repair. In this moment, we must fight unapologetically to save our planet. We will show up in the streets and demand immediate action on our climate crisis until we are all protected.”

Oxfam America President Abby Maxman said, “Young people are once again showing leadership where generations before them have failed. Oxfam stands in solidarity with these young climate advocates and will be directing our resources, knowledge, and platform to support their calls and complement their activism in this fight for climate justice. The climate crisis is not a future threat – its symptoms are all around us today, whether it is record-breaking storms like Hurricane Dorian, flooded farmland in the Midwest, or families forced to flee extreme droughts in Somalia. And it is the consequence of the same unequal, unjust, and unsustainable economy that keeps so many in poverty.”

“Scientists are joining the strike to stand with the people most impacted by the climate crisis—youth and frontline communities—who are calling on world leaders to stop stalling, and finally act with the urgency that science and justice demand. Through our research, we have been warning the world about the climate crisis for decades, and now we are joining concerned people everywhere in the streets.” – Dr. Lucky Tran, Biologist and Managing Director, March for Science

“100 years from now people will look back at this incredibly critical juncture and know that everyone who joined the Climate Strike on September 20, 2019, stood on the right side of history. For the young people leading the charge and our communities at the frontlines of climate change right now, this is simply about fighting for existence. The devastating impacts of the climate crisis are here and science is clear that we have a very limited amount of time to prevent irreversible runaway climate catastrophe. Solutions exist and it’s past time our leaders take us off fossil fuels poisoning our communities and causing the climate crisis. We strike to prevent the worse from happening and to build a just, sustainable, and prosperous world for all.” – Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO, Hip Hop Caucus

“Without elected leaders willing to push ambitious plans on climate change, young people don’t have a future. Youth climate strikers understand these dire stakes, and we’re excited to get every one of them registered to vote for candidates who treat our concerns with the urgency they deserve.” Ben Wessel, Executive Director, NextGen America

“The youth climate strike is the first significant climate strike with a big voter registration drive — because 2020 will be the climate election of our lifetime. Youth voices must be heard by leaders in Washington. Climate strikers will be asked to register to vote using a simple app — the first time ever that voter registration tools are being added to climate action. And the September 20 actions will echo into next November, and beyond,” said RL Miller, Political Director, Climate Hawks Vote

“The children of the world are inheriting a dangerous and dying planet through no fault of their own. To protect their future they have been forced to rise up and challenge adults to join them in healing our planet. Their courage, passion, and tenacity makes me believe the future is in good hands. I am thrilled that Earth’s Call Fund’s grant can help play a role in this tide-turning event and encourage more funders to join the movement.” – Spike Buckley, Co-Founder, Earth’s Call  

“As a scientist, I’ve studied how climate-driven droughts will increase airborne dust pollution and how burning fossil fuels to power our cars are causing asthma in 4 million children a year worldwide. These are just two of the many reasons why I will be striking in solidarity with the brave young people who are rising up all around the world to demand bolder climate action, because I believe that we all have a right to clean air, clean water, and a livable climate.” – Dr. Ploy Achakulwisut, Staff Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute, USA

“I’ll be striking with my four children because the bold and urgent leadership of youth activists deserves the unbridled support of the climate science community. We have a historic opportunity to rise together in demanding climate action, and I’m honored and humbled to play a small supporting role on Friday.” – Dr. Kim Cobb, Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

“Because we understand the dire scientific predictions, and their implications for humanity and all species, we must raise our voices, strike, and insist governments and corporations transform their policies and practices to address the climate crisis.” – Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Marine Biologist and Founder, Ocean Collectiv, USA

Nella Pineda-Marcon, Chairman of the Climate Justice Committee at New York State Nurses Association, said: “I saw firsthand the disaster of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines when I went there for a medical mission with the New York State Nurses Association. We were first responders, and we actually saw the whole devastation and took care of a lot of people that were victims of the disaster. After that mission, we created a committee in our organization that would take care of people that are, communities that are affected by climate change and its devastation. But even in the city, in the Bronx, we see kids coming in to the emergency room suffering from asthma because of the bad air quality in the Bronx. I’m excited about the youth strikes because I’m looking forward to making a big statement about the global impacts of climate change.”

“I am joining other doctors and health professionals in the climate strike because the climate crisis is harming our patients, disrupting our health care systems, and making it harder for us to do our job — to improve and protect health. These harms to health are not felt equally as children especially bear the burden, which is why I joined so many doctors in signing a medical excuse note for kids to strike. Action on the climate crisis protects the health of us all, but especially our children!” – Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS, Emergency Medicine Doctor, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Global Health Institute, C-CHANGE at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health

“We support the climate strike because we believe in this movement and its power and potential to make a meaningful difference in the climate fight. We believe in the inspiring youth who rise and demand action at this most critical time. And we will support and fight with them to protect their future, their climate, and the planet they will inherit.”  –Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

“I am participating in the climate strike because the clarity of youth activists, the power of their wisdom and energy, has pushed the climate movement further in the last few months then I thought was possible. Their leadership has fueled my hope and I want to thank them, to listen to them, and to follow them on Friday, and every day. The strike is also a reminder to me – I acknowledge the privilege I have to skip work with ease and remember that I can and should be taking more and bigger risks everyday to push for a just and sustainable future.” – Cameron Russell, co-founder of Model Mafia

“The courage, vision, and leadership of the youth gives voice to the conscience of a new generation,” said Mitch Bernard, interim president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Youth climate strikers are fighting for the future they are inheriting, a future that other generations created, and we have the responsibility to stand with them in their urgent call for action on climate.”

“It’s time we rise up as one planet and take action to move the forces of capitalism towards a net positive direction. Short term gain at the expense of our long term survival is childish. It’s time for us to evolve, grow up, and take care of our only home. Planet Earth” – Patrick Kronfli, Executive Director,


“We are the generation of today that stands up for the people of tomorrow” – Helene Meyer, 23, Fridays For Future Switzerland

“We strike so that in the United Nations meeting, when they speak, it is with our beliefs on their tongues. We strike so that when they raise their hands to vote, it is with the weight of our vision hanging from the tips of their fingers. We strike so that when they stand, it will be with the might of the youth, the workers, and the people” – Evan Meneses, 17, school striker from Australia

“Earth should be our number 0 priority. If we don’t do something for our planet now, soon nothing else will matter” – Mădălina Scarlat, 15, school striker from Romania

“We are joining the global strike to demand ambitious climate action for a future bellow 1.5 degrees Celsius. Over the last 10 years, 14 new coal plants have been opened in Chile, the last one was inaugurated this year. We demand the closure of all coal plants by 2030 in Chile, and a clear plan for Carbon Neutrality by 2050, grounded in climate justice” – Angela Valenzuela, 25, Fridays for Future Chile

‘’For me today’s strike is also about placing gender justice and women’s voices at the centre of climate justice demands’’ – Sostine Namanya, 32, Friends of the Earth Uganda

“The only way we can extinguish this forest fire is if we each put one drop over it. Hence we strike on 20 September! Because we’re hummingbirds, and we’ll do the best we can, where we can, when we can. That’s the only way we can fly freely afterwards” – Selin Gören, Fridays for Future Turkey

“We must take collective action for climate justice as a unified force, around the world. If we do not act soon to stop fossil fuel development and secure money to adapt to devastating storms, there will be no one left in 50 years. I will leave work so that my community sees the power that such an action can have” – Dorothea Balagtas, 17, Quezon City Association for Climate Justice, Philippines