Thousands of young activists challenging lawmakers to act in Global Climate Strike


DisobeyArt/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Hundreds of thousands of young people are gearing up for the Global Climate Strike to raise awareness on climate change and urge lawmakers to create policies to help save the planet ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit next week.

The march is building on a "historic surge" of student protests and strikes for climate action, but adults also are formally invited to participate, according to the organizers behind the movement.

The strike has grown to include more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. and 4,500 worldwide, with more than 2,000 scientists pledging to attend as well, organizers said.

The lead organizer for the New York City march, 19-year-old Shiv Soin, told ABC News that more than 15,000 people have marked that they're interested in attending on the event's Facebook page.

The youth activists are demanding world leaders stop using fossil fuels, transition to a green economy and hold polluters accountable, Soin said.

"We're going to hold them accountable," he said.

Soin, a politics and economics major at New York University, became passionate about the climate fight after returning to New Delhi in 2011 to attend his grandmother's funeral, where he said he was hospitalized due to the poor air quality.

"I ask myself, will this matter in 20, 30 years if we don't have a livable planet?" he said. "The answer is no."

Demonstrators in New York will meet at a rally in Foley Square and march south to Battery Park, where 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will be among the speakers, Soin said.

On Wednesday Thunberg implored U.S. lawmakers at the House Foreign Affairs Committee to "listen to the science" and take "real action" to curb carbon emissions.

New York City Public Schools will be excusing 1.1 million students from class on Friday -- with parental permission -- so they can participate in the strike.

Activists began posted photos of the posters created for the strike earlier in the week.

Soon, the teenage demonstrators will have the power to vote themselves and plan to vote out the politicians who don't heed their message.

"'We vote next,' is what we have to say," Soin said.

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