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Teenage Activist Takes School Strikes 4 Climate Action to Davos

Protest by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg snowballs to last day of World Economic Forum

Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (Photograph Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.

The 16-year-old activist behind the fast-growing School Strikes 4 Climate Action has taken her campaign to the streets of Davos, to confront world leaders and business chiefs about the global emissions crisis.

Greta Thunberg, whose solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament has snowballed across the globe, joined a strike by Swiss schoolchildren in the ski resort on Friday – the final day of the World Economic Forum.

Thunberg traveled by train for 32 hours to reach Davos, and spent Wednesday night camped with climate scientists on the mountain slopes – where temperatures plunged to -18C [0F].

Having already addressed the UN Climate Change COP 24 conference, Thunberg is rapidly becoming the voice for a generation who are demanding urgent action to slow the rise in global temperatures.

As she traveled down Davos’s funicular railway from the Arctic Base Camp – while more than 30,000 students were striking in Belgium – Thunberg said the rapid growth of her movement was “incredible”.

“There have been climate strikes, involving students and also adults, on every continent except Antarctica.  It has involved tens of thousands of children.”

Thunberg started her protest by striking for three weeks outside the Swedish parliament, lobbying MPs to comply with the Paris Agreement.  After the Swedish election, she continued to strike every Friday, where she is now joined by hundreds of people.

“This Friday I can’t be there,” she told the Guardian.  “So I will have to do it here in Davos, and send a message that this is the only thing that matters.”

Students around the world have been inspired by Thunberg, with thousands skipping school in Australia in November.  Last Friday there were strikes in Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland, where more than 20,000 students skipped school.

Missing gym class, geography, and religion each Friday is something of a sacrifice for Thunberg, who says she loves school and can’t pick a favorite subject.