A Friday for our Future – How Climate Awareness Movements are Present in Groningen

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Calling for action against climate change, the global Fridays for Future protest movement has changed the world’s view on the climate crisis and how we are affecting it. I decided to take a look for myself last Friday at the Grote Markt.

“The people, united, will never be defeated!”

Climate change is a major problem within our modern society, attracting attention from scientific experts from around the world. How do we stop global warming? Will we all still be able to safely live on this world in 50 years? These scientists seek to answer these questions with their research, discussing their results and developing new strategies to save our world. 

However, the youth of today also has a voice regarding climate change. It may not be as professional as that of a scientist’s, but it is brilliant and fights for a future in which we can safely and happily live in.This voice takes various shapes and forms, sometimes louder than a roaring lion, sometimes stronger than a standing rock, always fighting against inequality and injustice in this world of ours. And in August 2018, this voice took shape in the form of Greta Thunberg, a 15-year old Swedish environmental activist.

by Julia Eichhorn

On an autumn evening outside the Swedish parliament, young Swedish-schoolgirl Greta Thunberg took time off her classes to protest for stronger action against climate change. Thunberg’s actions quickly attracted others to join her, especially after her story went viral on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This movement has since then evolved into Fridays for Future, an international climate change action where high school and university students take time off their education each Friday to protest for stronger action against the ecological crisis that faces our world.

Groningen also has its own Fridays for Future movement. While much smaller than the larger groups of hundreds found in cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam, the Groninger climate movement has its own core following of activists. Every Friday at 01:00 PM on the Grote Markt a group of at least 15-20 university students join together to carry on Thunberg’s actions in Groningen and to join them with problems that are affecting us locally, such as the earthquakes caused by oil fracking.

Maya Rebel is a Dutch university student and political activist that actively takes part in Groningen’s Fridays for Future movement. Active in the climate change scene for over a year now, Maya has been involved with Extinction Rebellion and the Groninger Free Activists, advocating for green activism, animal rights and against discrimination. She shared her own opinion on why the climate strikes are so important with the Studentenkrant:

“The world is dying. We, as university and high school students, need to put pressure on the government to change their policies in favour of action against climate change. Fridays for Future is a stepping stone for common people to get into activism, and it’s an important thing to fight for.”

by Julia Eichhorn

However, not only the young still fight for our futures. Older generations do take part in these protest movements, one example being 89-year old Beate Kurth, an elderly Dutch woman who still remembers the time of Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights activism and a different, cold-war world. Beate sees the new generation of protests as an inspiration to our future, the start of a new wave of climate awareness actions that are driven by young university and high-school students. She joins the Fridays for Future movement almost every week to show her solidarity with the younger members of the protest and to advocate for a better future.

You, too, can start taking part in changing our world for the better! Whether it be for solidarity, the environment or raising awareness for others, supporting the ideas of people like Greta Thunberg and advocating for a greener world is a step in the right direction. For example, on the 27th of September there will be a major climate strike in the Hague, attracting possibly thousands of people to protest against inaction regarding climate change.Go to https://klimaatstaking.nl/ for more information.