Despite a cloudy start to the day, the sky cleared up for Argentina’s third Movilizacion contra el cambio climatico (“Third Climate Change Strike”) yesterday.
Youths in Argentina marched demonstrators in 160 countries across the globe, demanding action on climate change. The ‘#FridaysForFuture’ movement that started with Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thundberg’s call for a local strike has grown into a global movement.
Hosted by Alianza por el clima (“Climate Alliance”), Jovenes por el clima Argentina (JOCA, “Youth for climate change Argentina”), and FridaysForFuture Argentina, the march was dominated by youngsters. Multiple groups flew their organisations’ flags high along Avenida 9 de Julio, as organisers marched from the iconic Plaza de Mayo to Congress.
Marking Latin America’s place in the world debate on climate change, chants, music and dances filled the streets with energy. As protestors neared Congress, one in particular could be heard: “Donde esta America Latina? Estamos en las calles / luchando por el clima.” (“Where is Latin America? / We are in the streets / fighting for the environment”)
The strike was marked by frustration at the government over their inaction in preventing further damage to the planet. Signs expressed anger at President Mauricio Macri’s policies, while others called for specific legislative changes regarding the agriculture sector. The strike brought together members from all ages, nationalities, genders and social classes.
Five-year-old Juana marching alongside her mother and grandmother, was among the youngest in attendance. “It’s important to not make trash (...) we have to take care of the planet,” she said.
“We’re here today to be heard, especially by politicians and government officials,” stated Leandro Darbutski, 18, a protester with organiser group JOCA. “People don’t usually associate climate change with people; they think about polar bears, but not often about the at-risk communities who are susceptible to floods.”
Even celebrities turned out. “Let’s hope this is the beginning of real change,” Charly Alberti, the former drummer of the iconic rock band Soda Stereo, told the Noticias Argentinas news agency.
“The change we need is not opposed to economic development, that’s not true, what needs to change is the way we produce,” added Alberti, who founded an NGO named Revolución 21 focused on global environmental issues more than a decade ago.
Apart from Buenos Aires, other major urban centres including Córdoba, Mar del Plata, Rosario, La Plata, Bahía Blanca, Neuquén, Bariloche, Salta, and San Luis held marches.