Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

climate strike

Tens of thousands of students across Belgium joined the youth-led global climate strike movement on Thursday. (Photo: EuroNews/Twitter)

'The Climate Is a Disaster': Fourth Week of Student-Led Strike as Tens of Thousands March in Belgium

Primary school children tell politicians: "I'll do my homework when you do yours."

As many as 35,000 Belgian students walked out of classrooms in Brussels, Liège, and Leuven in the fourth straight week of protests to pressure policymakers to pursue bolder measures in response to the human-made global climate crisis.

Students across the globe have joined the climate strike movement inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, and are calling on politicians to heed the increasingly urgent warnings from scientists that the international community must immediately phase out fossil fuels and enact other ambitious measures to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

"The climate is a disaster," 15-year-old demonstrator Allison Debonte told Reuters, adding that she worries her children won't be able to live in Brussels because of the climate crisis.

"It's our planet and the generation before us hasn't done anything," added Julian Rume, 17. "In 20, 30 years, we will all be migrants, we'll all be moved out of our planet."

Brussels, where an estimated 12,500 students marched on Thursday, is considered the de facto capital of the European Union, as home to several EU institutions. The young strikers have condemned those in power across Europe for failing to cut emissions and transition to renewable energy.

"They left us a planet in a bad shape so it is our job to change that," 17-year-old marcher Manon Wilmart told the Associated Press. "But we can do it. We are younger and we know that we can do it. We are in the mood to change the climate, to change everything."

A 16-year-old named Pauline, in an interview with  Deutsche Welle, was optimist that progress is on the horizon: "Me and my friend, we already try to do everything for the climate. I think there is now a lot of attention on this issue. So I really think that the countries will start to mobilize and change something."

Participants and supporters from cities across Belgium shared updates on social media with the hashtags #ClimateStrike and #YouthForClimate:

The actions on Thursday followed an estimated 35,000 students who marched in Brussels last week and about 160,000 protesters in Belgium and France over the weekend.

Thunberg's protests outside the Swedish Parliament last year have garnered her, and the broader youth demand for climate action, international attention—enabling the teenager last week to tell the billionaires attending the World Economic Forum to their faces that they're among some the specific individuals responsible for the climate crisis. She highlighted the protests in Belgium on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday:

Meanwhile, in several other cities around the world, students plan to continue the strike on Friday, with organizers sharing details on social media using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Biden Urged to Embrace Top Democrat's Call to End Deadly US Sanctions Against Venezuela

"The terrible suffering and death that Venezuela has experienced in recent years is overwhelmingly a result of economic collapse and deprivation caused by U.S. sanctions."

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Nina Turner Kicks Off '$27 Dollar Donation Challenge' After Hillary Clinton Endorses Establishment Candidate in Ohio

"While the establishment is doing everything they can to stop our movement," the progressive candidate said, "we will continue elevating the issues."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Progressives Push for High-Speed Rail Funding in Infrastructure Deal

"This is part of our overall goal to create millions of union jobs in the United States of America building climate infrastructure to bring down our carbon emissions, save our future, and improve our quality of life."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'Great News': Biden Backs 2002 AUMF Repeal as Schumer Announces Vote on Repeal

"This marks the first time in memory that a president has called for the repeal of a war authorization, a significant step towards ending the forever wars."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Unions Demand Pelosi and Schumer Include Lower Medicare Age, Drug Pricing Reform in Infrastructure Plan

"Now is the time for action to lower drug prices and improve access to care for millions."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·