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2019 is the year of the "climate strike"

"Climate strike" has been crowned word of the year by Collins Dictionary. The term, which refers to people who leave work or school as a way of demanding action against climate change, was used 100 times more often in 2019 than last year, Collins lexicographers thought. The company says they monitor a text file of 9.5 billion words every year to create & # 39; new and eye-catching & # 39; identify words that reflect major changes in culture.

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Mass protests around the world in the past year reflect people's growing awareness of taking action against climate change. Around this time last year, a panel of scientists convened by the United Nations issued a report that the world had 12 years links (now 11) to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. For many, increasingly destructive wildfires and hurricane seasons, the risks of climate change have come much closer to home.

Approximately 1.6 million students left the classroom during a coordinated strike day in more than 120 countries in March. Eighteen year old Audrey Lai spoke with The edge during a demonstration that day about last year's devastating fires in California; she was worried about a repeat. "It's burning season instead of fall," she said. "Isn't there something we should do?"

One of the heroines behind the popularity of climate strikes is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who started weekly walks in Sweden in 2018. Her controversial protests outside the Swedish parliament catapulted her into the spotlight and she was one rumor candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. She didn't end up with that prestigious prize, but she did announce the word of the year on Twitter.

Global protests flared up again in September, prior to a United Nations summit in New York. Technical workers in giants such as Amazon, Googleand Microsoft left headquarters to support protests, even when CEOs such as Jeff Bezos announced new commitments to make business more sustainable.


Felíquan Charlemagne
Photo by Amelia Holowatyt Krales / The Verge

"I participate in the climate strike because every major structural change in history has come (because of) a rebellion from below," said 17-year-old Felíquan Charlemagne The edge at the time. "The climate attack movement, a grassroots, decentralized movement, has the power to change conversations and force leadership to deliver the bold climate solutions we need to not only stop climate change, but a better world and economy for us all to build. "

Hundreds of activists were arrested the following month for what they call a & # 39; global climate uprising & # 39; called. The group behind it, called Extinction Rebellion, started in the UK and has literally bleed off in major cities around the world. They sprayed it Westminster Treasury with fake blood and then showered the iconic Wall Street bull during civil disobedience in October.

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This year's climate strikes are not over yet; more protests are planned prior to the annual United Nations climate conference in December in Madrid. Collins lexicographers point to the origin of the term & # 39; climate strike & # 39; during demonstrations around the same conference in France in 2015, when world leaders adopted the Paris climate agreement.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge