The Global Climate Strike, organized by a collective of international environmental groups, will take place from Friday, September 20th, to Friday, September 27th. In the Czech Republic various events and protests are scheduled in Prague and beyond, all aimed at drawing attention to climate change, one of the most intensely debated topics of the day.
The Prague edition of the Global Climate Strike kicks off today at 9am in Old Town Square where speakers (10am) and a parade (11:30) are scheduled. The Global Strike for Earth will take place on September 27th. While organized protests are planned, the initiative is also encouraging the general public to walk out of workplaces and homes on September 20th to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.”
Global Climate Strike events are planned to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit, held on September 23 in New York when political leaders from around the world will present their national plans to achieve the commitments laid out under the Paris Agreement.
Michaela Pixová, coordinator of the Climate Coalition, says: “The purpose of the Week for Climate is to point out that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly.” She adds: “Without political action and systemic measures, society cannot manage climate change.”
Lucie Smolková, a student from the Prague chapter of Fridays For Future, a movement sparked by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s weekly Friday protests, says: “Safety, conditions for human life on earth, a healthy landscape, our future, and our climate, are themes for everyone…because all of us will sooner or later be affected by water scarcity, polluted air, expensive food, intolerable summer heat. Society must work together to address this vital issue.”
The green wave has been more of a green trickle for the Czech Republic. Premier Andrej Babiš sided with his Polish and Hungarian counterparts in June to block a European Council attempt to lock in a net zero emissions target by 2050. The Czech Green Party was obliterated in recent European elections that saw Greens in many other EU countries gain record wins at the polls. In the 2019 European election, the Czech Pirate Party joined the Greens–European Free Alliance parliamentary group and won three MEP seats.
Founded in April 2019 by the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25), the Green New Deal for Europe (GNDE) campaign aims to mobilize European scientists, unions, parties, and policymakers for a swift transition to a sustainable Europe. According to Louise Kelleher, Czech Coordinator for GNDE, which will be present at Friday’s protests, the environmental challenges faced by the Czech Republic are hard to ignore.
“We can see the forests are dying. We know every third child in Ostrava has asthma because of air pollution. A more insidious threat is the climate scepticism that’s normalized in the media. If we can empower Czech communities to decide for themselves what their green transition will look like, it’s a win for all of us.”
Other events taking place in Prague during Climate Week include the September 20th Festival for the Future with musical performances at Střelecký Ostrov, a Greenpeace stand at Zažít město jinak (Nuselské schody) on September 21st, a large-scale garbage pick up in Divoká Šárka on September 22nd, and a September 26th bike ride for climate change from Prague to Bavorov. Programs for other Czech cities can be found at the Week for Climate website.