Greta Thunberg, 16, launched a global youth movement with her school strike for climate. Credit: James Gourley/Getty Images

Share this article

School Strike for Climate: What Today’s Kids Face If World Leaders Delay Action

When today's leaders were Greta’s age, scientists were already issuing strong warnings about climate change.

Scientists were warning about the risks of climate change and the burning of fossil fuels before today’s world leaders were Greta Thunberg’s age.

The Swedish 16-year-old, frustrated with the pace of government action to deal with climate change, launched a “school strike for climate” last year. It set off an international youth movement and widespread demonstrations that are drawing attention to the growing risks for their generation as global temperatures continue to rise. 

“People always tell us that they are so hopeful. They are hopeful that the young people are going to save the world, but we are not. There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge,” Thunberg told the European Economic Social Committee in one of several speeches she has given to government and business leaders in recent months.

On March 15, students in hundreds of cities in countries around the globe held school strikes calling for action on climate change, and that was followed by more widespread demonstrations around the world each Friday. These charts show why. 

Infographic: Scientists Were Warning About Climate Change When World Leaders Were Teens

Charts: What Does the Climate Future Look Like for Today's Teens?


We deliver climate news to your inbox like nobody else. Every day or once a week, our original stories and digest of the web's top headlines deliver the full story, for free.


The March 15 school strike for climate drew students into the streets of cities around the world, including these students, part of a crowd of thousands in Sydney, Australia. Credit: James Gourley/Getty Images
The March 15 school strike for climate drew students into the streets of cities around the world, including this large crowd in Sydney, Australia. Credit: James Gourley/Getty Images

Read more about the scientists’ warnings listed in the graphic:

  • The President’s Science Advisory Committee Environmental Pollution Panel’s 1965 report “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment”
  • Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago, part of an ICN investigative series
  • James Hansen’s 1988 testimony to Congress
  • The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports

Top photo: Greta Thunberg. Credit: Michael Capanella/Getty Images