The platform of the global climate strike, scheduled in Italy for Friday, September 23, intersects with the election campaign. Fridays For Future will fill up the streets two days before the vote, and because of this — at least in our country — the movement’s demands intertwine with election agendas: “You want our vote, but you ignore our voice,” write the youth of the movement founded by young activist Greta Thunberg, who 213 weeks ago carried out her first and lonely school strike to protest against governments’ inaction in the face of climate change.
Friday’s global strike will focus on the need to put people’s well-being back at the center to defeat the climate crisis, replacing a model that puts profits as a priority. In Italy, demonstrations and marches are planned in more than 70 cities, and the strike will also be the culmination of Fridays For Future’s work during the campaign to bring to the center of public debate the issues and measures needed to solve the climate crisis and to ensure support for the people most affected by the effects of the energy crisis. The movement has compiled its proposals into a “Climate Agenda,” which can be consulted online, outlining dozens of proposals and measures related to transportation and mobility, energy, jobs, housing and energy poverty, and water, five key areas for building global climate justice.
The purpose of the Fridays For Future protest is to bring the climate crisis and the solutions to deal with it back to the forefront, which, according to the organization, have been “the great absentees during the electoral debate,” as Agnese Casadei, spokesperson for Fridays For Future Italy, explains: “The disaster that happened in the Marche region a few days ago reminds us what the consequences of ignoring the climate crisis are. The possibility of avoiding a catastrophic rise in temperatures depends on the next 5 years, and we risk that they will be wasted by a Parliament that does not see the climate issue as a priority. We cannot allow this to happen: politicians must know that ignoring this issue is not an option if they want to win public support. They must also know that not acting today means being criminal accomplices to the biggest crisis in human history.”
Therefore, voting is not enough, according to the movement. According to Mathias Mancin, another of Fridays For Future Italy’s spokesmen, “Citizen participation in politics cannot be reduced to marking up a ballot one day. Citizens should be able to dictate the issues that politics should deal with, but many of the most serious problems of Italians – energy poverty, unemployment, the climate crisis – instead remained without serious answers in this election campaign, leaving millions of people without real representation. We want to take our unrepresented voice to the streets. If politicians want our vote, they must listen to our voice.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday in New York, Mario Draghi opened the second Youth4Climate event, the gathering of young people from around the world on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two-day event, organized by the Ministry of Ecological Transition with the United Nations Development Program, was created to gather young people’s ideas and proposals on combating the climate crisis. Last year Youth4Climate was held in Milan at PreCop26: 400 young people signed a Manifesto, which was later presented at COP26 in Glasgow.