We’re occupying schools across the world to protest climate inaction | Youth activists involved in End Fossil: Occupy! | The Guardian #ClimateEmergency

School and university students all over the world are planning to take school strikes one step further and occupy our campuses to demand the end of the fossil economy. Taking a lesson from student activists in the 1960s, the climate justice movement’s youth will shut down business as usual. Not because we don’t like learning, but because what we’ve learned already makes it clear that, without a dramatic break from this system, we cannot ensure a livable planet for our presents and futures.


Why occupy? Because we’ve marched. We’ve launched petitions. We’ve written open letters. We’ve had meetings with governments, boards and commissions. We’ve struck. We’ve filled squares, streets and avenues with thousands and, all together, millions of people in continents across this Earth. We’ve screamed with all our lungs. Some of us have even participated in blockades, sit-ins and die-ins. And just as it seemed the seed for deep and radical social transformation was taking root in the midst of the massive 2019 climate mobilizations, Covid-19 came, and our momentum drastically decreased. What didn’t decrease, however, was the greenhouse gas emissions, the exploitation of the global south and the unimaginable profits hoarded by the fossil fuel industry.

No New Coal

It’s no secret that our enemy, the fossil fuel industry, rules the world. And it is far from falling; in fact, it is stronger than ever. Proof is a recent investigation by the Guardian that revealed to the world that the fossil fuel empire has 195 “carbon bomb” projects that threaten our hope for a global warming of up to 1.5C, the safe barrier. That’s right: despite our politicians’ and institutions’ indeed hilarious show at Cop26 in 2021, the biggest oil companies are on track to spend $103m on planetary destruction projects every day for the rest of the decade.

What’s more, the climate crisis is not a fair crisis. The latest IPCC reports show that the ones who are most affected by climate change are often the ones who have done the least in causing it in the first place. As young people born right at the edge of the biggest catastrophe in human history, it is our historic responsibility to rise up to stop it.

So, what do we do? Since giving in to defeatism will never be an option for us, we must now organize at a massive scale. We need to create a new peak of mobilization, even bigger than 2019. If we were waiting for a sign, this is it. With temperatures climbing faster and faster, we have never been so certain that mobilizing bigger than ever is not only possible, but existentially necessary.

We cannot repeat previous mistakes. We need to be more disruptive than ever, as that’s our only chance for survival. The youth’s innovation and creativity, combined with a fierce appetite for disruption and liberation, can change the world. As a global generation of students, we need to disrupt business as usual, and start with the spaces where we have the power to mobilize and organize – our schools and universities. Sometimes they are directly implicated in the destruction business, as is the case of the many universities that invest in the fossil fuel industry, such as Oxford, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, McGill, Northwestern, MIT, etc. In other cases, they are indirectly linked to it. They train us for a world that has no future, a world of fossil capitalism. They want us to sit in school and learn as if everything was fine. But the world we are learning for – the world that created the climate crisis – has no future. The big question of our generation, “How do we create a world without climate catastrophe?”, will not be answered by sitting in school.

Blockade Australia

The bottom line is: we can’t keep pretending everything is all right, studying as if the planet wasn’t on fire. As other students did before us – from the students of May of ’68 in France to the Arab spring, from the Chilean Penguin Revolution and Primavera Secundarista in Brazil to Occupy Wall Street, we will stop our business-as-usual lives to show our governments and society that we need to change everything, now. From Lisbon to California, from Peru to Germany and from Madrid to Ivory Coast, we call on young people to get together and organize an international revolutionary generation that can change the system.

Between September and December 2022, we will occupy hundreds of schools and universities worldwide to end the fossil economy at the international level under the callout to action “End Fossil: Occupy!”. We invite anyone and everyone to join us and organize occupations in their school or universities, as long as they follow our three principles: youth-led occupation, climate justice framework, and occupy until we win. We will revive the youth movement, create new alliances, radicalize, engage the whole of society to support and occupy, and envision the world we want – where life and not profit is at the center – through this sparking international action moment. We will rise up in justice and liberation to crush the fossil fuel industry. We shall have no doubt: the youth are a revolutionary subject. We will turn the tide, change history, and smash the fossil economy.

We are here. We are radical. We are ready to occupy.

  • This open letter was written by youth activists involved in End Fossil: Occupy! and signed by organizers and groups around the world

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One thought on “We’re occupying schools across the world to protest climate inaction | Youth activists involved in End Fossil: Occupy! | The Guardian #ClimateEmergency

  1. I feel we are barking-up-the-wrong-tree. We peoples of the world have made a fragile pact to gradually and incrementally reduce our burning of fossil fuels. The next agreement that we must create and enforce is an agreement to stop mining fossil fuels. On 7.30 the other night with the indomitable Sarah Ferguson, our glorious leader Mr. Elbow, repeated yet again that worn out phrase, so often trotted out by his predecessors, ‘If we don’t sell the coal, somebody else will.’ This reminded me if a little known fact. Before the war with the Japanese our glorious leader Sir Robert Menzies used exactly the same expression to justify selling iron ore(pig iron) to a country that would, sooner rather than later return that iron to our country in the form of bombs.(that’s why we called him pig-iron Bob. Ironically enough, some of that iron remained in Darwin Harbour for many years in the form of Japanese fighter bombers, knocked out of the sky by a phalanx of boomerangs skillfully wielded by our dusky brethren. One fine day we rang the Japanese embassy and asked them kindly to remove these ugly reminders of our ignominy. The Wily Nips duly extracted all the iron lying around on the sea floor, shipped it back to the mother country and artfully converted it into Toyotas. Those very same Toyotas we see driven hither and thither across our wide brown land by our dusky brethren and sistren)
    I digress. We have a surfeit of glorious leaders who are happy to state over and over again, ad infinitum, ‘If we don’t do it somebody else will.’ What we need right now is a leader willing to say, ‘If we don’t do it, no one else will.’
    ‘If we don’t stop digging up fossil fuels forthwith, no one else will.’
    When people go around shooting each other with guns more than they usually do, we say, ‘We must not allow the gun sellers to sell them guns. When too many people overdose on illicit drugs we say, ‘We must not allow drug peddlers to sell them drugs.’ But when people burn far too much fossil fuel for our own good, we blame them. We do not turn to the people selling them the fossil fuels and say, ‘You are not allowed under any circumstances to start any new mines. Any residual coal and gass you have left in your present mines, must only be sold to those who are phasing out the burning of fossil fuels as fast as they possibly can.’

    Liked by 1 person

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