Even before we were able to see the massive hoard of people gathering at the starting point, it was estimated that around 100,000 people attended this march alone earning it the title of one of the biggest demonstrations in Switzerland in years!
You were surrounded with colourful banners, people young and old all coming together for this event. Last year I had attended the 2018 Geneva Climate Strike with a group of friends, we didn’t come to school and instead spent hours making banners before marching with the significantly smaller than this year’s, crowd. This year was completely different. The entire year group was informed about the event well in advance. We were given permission slips that you needed to fill out, stating why you believed you deserved to leave school for the climate strike. Naturally me and the same group I had gone with last year were some of the first to sign up. Only two or three weeks later nearly the entire year-group had already promised they would be present. As the day arrived everyone sat in their morning classes tense watching the minutes creep by. When the time finally rolled around everyone was scrambling to catch trains or busses hoping to arrive on time to stand close to the front. As the march finally began the event was introduced with a rally of yells and protests against the wrongdoings of major corporates, and society’s lack of action against climate change. It felt really nice to know that there was an army worth of people who were ready to give up their free time to support the cause and not be afraid to cause some inconvenience. Speaking of causing inconvenience, a bus driver hadn’t been aware of the strike and tried to push through the crowd. The entire hoard of people sat down on the road together blocking the bus from getting any further.
Another highlight of the afternoon was that we stopped at multiple major companies that deny climate change or strive to change their carbon footprints or change their policies. It was also amazing to see the diversity to prove we are all humans and that no borders, nationality, race or even language will keep us apart from trying to save our planet.
I would definitely advise anyone who is even mildly interested in the wellbeing of our planet to join these marches. It’s an excellent way to take a stand and start truly fighting for this major issue.
Maarit van Lith, year 9