Greta Thunberg went on a school strike for the climate for the last time on Friday, nearly five years after first sitting down in front of Sweden’s parliament with a hand-drawn sign.
Her protest went on to inspire the Fridays for Future movement, which at its peak saw millions take to the streets to call for more climate action.
The Swedish activist wrote on Twitter that Friday was her graduation day, “which means I’ll no longer be able to school strike for the climate.”
But the movement isn’t done, she added. “We’re still here, and we aren’t planning on going anywhere. Much has changed since we started, and yet we have much further to go. We are still moving in the wrong direction.”
Thunberg started skipping class to protest outside Stockholm’s Riksdag in August 2018, holding a sign with the slogan Skolstrejk för klimatet — “school strike for climate.”
“When I started striking in 2018 I could never have expected that it would lead to anything,” she wrote on Twitter. “Some more people joined, and quite suddenly this was a global movement growing every day.”
The climate strikers lost momentum during the pandemic as lockdowns meant students were unable to protest for months.
During that time, “we had to find new ways to protest,” Thunberg said, with the movement broadening its scope to focus on global climate justice issues.
Although the students eventually returned to the streets, more radical forms of climate activism moved into the spotlight as more and more protesters glued themselves to roads, threw soup at paintings, and even turned to sabotage.
But it was Fridays for Future that first heaped pressure on politicians — particularly in Europe, where Commission President Ursula von der Leyen took office at a time when the school strikes had their largest turnout.
“Without this mass mobilisation of young people we might not have had a European Green Deal,” Commission spokesperson Tim McPhie tweeted in response to Thunberg’s announcement.
Thunberg said she’d still continue to protest on Fridays, “even though it’s not technically ‘school striking.’”
She added: “We simply have no other option than to do everything we possibly can. The fight has only just begun.”
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