As climate change protests occur across the globe and students forego going to school it puts into perspective the question and discussion of whether strikes are creating a positive impact on society.
Friday, 20th September marked the worldwide date for action against the climate crisis. The plan for the Global Climate Strike emerged from the Fridays for Future movement, where students protest for more and stricter laws regarding environmental issues, instead of going to school.
This movement, originating in Sweden, spread around the world in no time, gaining supporters in more than 100 countries. But this form of protest has received enormous criticism as well, condemning the children’s absence from their mandatory education. This criticism, however, disregards the whole point of a strike action.
Strikes have been prevalent through history but underwent a surge during and after the Industrial Revolution, drastically improving working conditions for us today. Recent events show that they are very much still needed. More so, it is clear society's thinking towards these peaceful rallys are steering to the negative.
A strike disrupts the flow in a system, putting those in charge under pressure, but also severely affecting consumers. Take train company workers striking for better working conditions, for instance. Trains will be cancelled, leading to a severe frustration of commuters.
Here, one issue becomes clear. Rather than empathising with strikers, the affected public grow an increasing anger against the strikers instead, disregarding the message the protestors are trying to achieve.
Strikes should demonstrate how important those workers are, how much our system relies on them and how unfairly they are treated. It also intends to show the unity and majority of strikers versus those higher up. Therefore, a crucial point for strikers is effectively communicating their aims to convince the public.
Clearly, the circumstances of the worldwide climate strikes differ, but that makes their criticism even more baffling. To address some of the critics’ points: What would striking students accomplish if they went to school instead and protested on the weekends? Why should they ‘let the grown-ups take care of the problem’ if they were not the ones starting the protests? Striking students have put the governments under pressure and first, although disappointing, measures have been taken. These steps have not been enough and proved that the protestors are truly fighting for a cause, as the strikes are ongoing. They need to involve and affect as many people as possible until they can prove to have an effect.
Striking has proved to work and has improved life in our society drastically. It is now the turn of the people to finally appreciate those who have been fighting for centuries – and now today for different reasons. Our planet needs it.