“We Are Here To Fight For Our Lives” – Thousands Flood Streets To Demand Climate Action

NEW YORK CITY (September 20, 2019) – Thousands of people have flooded streets here today as part of a worldwide movement to demand climate action. 4 million people in over 150 countries around the world took to the streets in a global Climate Strike. The New York Climate Strike is one of over a thousand registered strikes in the US alone.

Students and adults alike walked out of schools and workplaces to join the strike today, many with institutional support. Over 1500 employees at companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, have pledged to walk out to join the protest. Employees from major NGOs such as Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have also planned walk-outs, sources told Health Policy Watch.

Students and adults at the New York City Climate Strike

In a show of institutional support, all public New York City schools announced that they will excuse student absences due to the strike last week on Twitter.

At Foley Park, the venue for the Climate Strike in New York City, the air is humming with energy, and the most prominent thing about the crowd is how young it is. High-school and middle school students make up a majority of the people chanting for change, and the presence of whole families is felt as parents walk hand-in-hand with their kids and strike for their children’s futures.

Health Policy Watch asked some people why they were striking today. Here is what they said:

Valerie, architectural designer, holds her list of climate action demands.



“I’m striking because…we don’t have much time left. I’m only 23, so I want my kids to enjoy what I enjoyed when I was younger, and I think there is no other way to do it other than to demand accountability for the actions that were made, and try to solve them right now because we have all the tools and resources. People just need to start taking action.” – Valerie, Architectural Designer.




The Schoor family holds their Climate Strike signs.


“For my husband and I, one of the reasons why we’re striking is for our daughter. We want to make sure she has a healthy place to live, or a place to live at all. And with climate change going on, we know there are a lot of issues with more people having breathing problems, different cancers, and we just really want to make sure our daughter and our grandchildren have a safe place to live.”- Schoor Family.



Student from East York Middle School of Excellence in Brooklyn, New York, holds a sign


“Climate justice and social justice flower from the same seed. So we know that people of color are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, so it’s important that we hear people of color’s voices, and to protect our planet.” – Ms. Sweet, teacher at East York Middle School of Excellence, on why her school is supporting their students to attend the Climate Strike.

“We are here to fight for climate change. We are not here to skip school or skip work, we are not here to watch. We are here to fight for our lives, we are here so climate change will not kill us. [The government] will not listen to our heeding, or listen to scientists either, so now we come here to fight.”- Stephan, student at East York Middle School of Excellence.


Leo, age 7, has been protesting on the stairs of New York City Hall since December 2018




“It’s not good for the earth, every time it makes another thing, it pollutes the air more. [Climate change is important for health] because we won’t get to live a long life, and I want everyone to have a long life.”- Leo, 7 years old.




Justin and Andrei, Artists, hand out free signs they created to strike participants.


“We need to bridge ourselves back into the natural world, we’re very disconnected from the natural world so I think this movement is important. I worked with Greta Thunberg… and so I support all these projects she’s doing, and all the students and adults who are out here”- Justin Brice Guariglia, Artist and Climate Activist.

“Today’s the day we decided to gather around the world, it’s the most important issue of our day. Everything comes together with climate change – income inequality, changing economies, the loss and gain of jobs, there is absolutely no area of civic life that is not touched by the disaster ahead if we don’t do something.” – Andrei Codrescu, Romanian-American Poet.






Today’s global Climate Strike movement began with school walk-outs organized by students around the world, inspired by Greta Thunberg’s first strike in 2018. Greta, along with youth climate leaders around the world, have been invited to New York to attend meetings during the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

The strikes come just one day before the Youth Climate Summit hosted by the United Nations, where over 100 youth leaders in the climate movement have been invited to participate in discussion around climate action, and three days before the planned Climate Action Summit, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be calling on countries to share concrete plans for tackling the so-called “climate-crisis.”


This story was published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story, co-founded by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review.



September 21 2019 – This story was updated to reflect new attendance numbers for the global climate strike.

Combat the infodemic in health information and support health policy reporting from the global South. Our growing network of journalists in Africa, Asia, Geneva and New York connect the dots between regional realities and the big global debates, with evidence-based, open access news and analysis. To make a personal or organisational contribution click here on PayPal.