Greta takes part in final school strike - but vows to keep 'fighting'

The school strikes started in 2018, when a then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began skipping school to sit outside the Swedish Parliament with a placard.

Greta Thunberg has begun her final ‘school strike’ – the coordinated youth climate protest that propelled her to global fame.

The 20-year-old, who is graduating from school on Friday, said although she can no longer walk out of classes in order to demonstrate against climate inaction, she will still protest every Friday alongside students.

The school strikes were born in 2018, when a then 15-year-old Thunberg began skipping school to sit outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading “School Strike for Climate”.

Within months, the demonstration snowballed into a mass movement, with teenagers across the world taking to the streets in their droves.

Thunberg said Friday marked 251 weeks of the school strikes.

In a series of resolute Twitter posts, she said: “Today, I graduate from school, which means I’ll no longer be able to school strike for the climate. This is then the last school strike for me, so I guess I have to write something on this day.”

The activist said she “could never have expected” her movement to amount to “millions of youth… flooding the streets in over 180 countries”.

She continued: “We’re still here, and we aren’t planning on going anywhere.

“Much has changed since we started, and yet we have much further to go… We’re rapidly approaching potential nonlinear ecological and climatic tipping points beyond our control.

“There are probably many of us who graduate who now wonder what kind of future it is that we are stepping into, even though we did not cause this crisis.”

She concluded her statement with: “The fight has only just begun”.

As a teenager Thunberg was invited to speak to political and business leaders at UN conferences and the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. She also was named Time magazine’s youngest Person of the Year in 2019 and received several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

She took a year off from school in order to campaign on climate change matters, returning to class aged 17.

For her final school strike outside parliament, Thunberg posed with a Swedish-language sign while wearing the cap that high school graduates typically wear in Sweden.

American singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith, who was in Stockholm for a concert on Friday as part of a world tour, showed up at the demonstration and told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter she got tears in her eyes when meeting Thunberg.

“This is Greta Thunberg, faithfully taking her Friday School Strike for Climate Action. She graduates today, and we extend our gratitude and congratulations,” Smith wrote on Instagram.

Last month, a study found Earth has pushed past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone,” not just for an overheating planet that’s losing its natural areas, but for the well-being of people living on it.

The study by the international scientist group Earth Commission, published in the Nature journal, looks at climate, air pollution, phosphorus and nitrogen contamination of water from fertilizer overuse, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, the unbuilt natural environment and the overall natural and human-built environment. Only air pollution wasn’t quite at the danger point globally.

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