#FridaysForFuture began in August 2018, after 15-year old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish Parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter and it soon went viral.
In September, Greta decided to continue striking every Friday until Swedish policies provide for a safe pathway to keeping temperature rise well under 2°C (in line with the Paris Agreement).
The hashtags #FridaysForFuture and #Climatestrike spread and many students and adults began to protest outside their parliaments and local city halls all over the world.
This bold action has also inspired many scientists to remind the public of what they know about the status of the world’s climate. Current national ambitions for reducing global emissions as submitted under the Paris agreement have recently been estimated to fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C (https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/07/sr15_headline_statements.pdf).
The Global Young Academy (GYA), which brings together 200 excellent early- to mid-career researchers from all over the globe, congratulates the young activists who are drawing the public’s attention to the necessity to act on climate change now. In their scientific careers, many GYA members have taken up the global challenge of forging pathways to sustainability. They work in research programmes dedicated to understanding and discovering solutions to this challenge. The world cannot spend another twenty years in further fruitless discussions about the path toward sustainability. Progress toward a sustainable future must accelerate, and it must be both inclusive and enduring. The time for action, corresponding to the immediacy and diversity of sustainability challenges, is right now. The GYA believes that scientists, and science and research, are fundamental to realizing the goals of keeping global warming below 1.5° C and identifying pathways to sustainability development.
We see urgent action to halt climate change and deal with its impacts as being integral to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In July 2017, more than 60 representatives from over 35 Young Academies and similar young scientist initiatives from all over the world met in Johannesburg, South Africa. This Third Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies issued a statement on the question of how young academies in general, and young scientists in particular, can contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).