Aynur Tekin / DUVAR

Turkey’s first digital strike was organized to draw attention to the climate crisis, by Fridays for Future Turkey, the local branch of the youth climate movement led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, and Sıfır Gelecek (“No future”) on April 3.

Moved to the digital world with the hashtag “this household is on strike” to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the strike part of the global climate movement that started with 16-year-old Thunberg’s Friday school strikes in front of the Swedish Parliament. 

Following the global climate strike of September 2019 that 10,000 people in Turkey attended and a total of four million people participated in worldwide, the April 3 climate strike is also a global one.

The digital strike will be carried out on the multi-user video call application Zoom, start with a speech from famous Turkish actor Mert Fırat, followed by a speech from Coordinator of Sabanci University’s İstanbul Policies Center Ümit Şahin and will continue with a meeting of activists at 5 p.m. 

Turkey’s first digital climate strike reiterates the activists’ encouragement of Ankara to declare a climate emergency, sign The Paris Agreement and to completely abolish all fossil fuel consumption and production by 2030, replacing mass energy imports with renewable sources. 

Raşide Tuğba of Sıfır Gelecek

‘We need to save the Earth, not the day’

The world has entered a time when saving oneself isn’t a possibility anymore, Raşide Tuğba of Sıfır Gelecek said.

Unless the global nation changes its production and consumption patterns, Tuğba added, we will be faced with the consequences of ruining natural ecosystems, whether that’s COVID-19 or a natural disaster. 

“We saw with the coronavirus pandemic that any natural imbalance affects lives everywhere. A butterfly clapped its wings in China and a tree went down here, so we really need to save the Earth, not the day.”

‘We insists on The Paris Agreement’ 

The activists’ demands haven’t changed and they insist that the climate crisis deserves attention in spite of the coronavirus outbreak, Bilge Yerli of Fridays for Future Ankara said.

Bilge Yerli of Fridays for Future Ankara holds a sign that reads “the climate crisis belongs to all of us.”

“We insist on The Paris Agreement, it needs to be approved by parliament and put into effect right away!”

Yerli is going to participate in the April 3 strike to see that the voice of the youth is heard, she said.

Baha Kesici from Fridays for Future Bilecik

“We believe that climate strikes are the best way to break a chain of destruction and we want those in power, bureaucrats, to hear us,” said Baha Kesici from Fridays for Future Bilecik.

The movement at least wants to start a fight against air pollution, the main cause of the climate crisis, which they hope will raise awareness, Kesici added. 

‘The climate strike is a beacon of hope’

The world is going through an emergency that it’s trying to solve with science, Selin Gören of Fridays for Future Istanbul noted. 

Selin Gören of Fridays for Future Istanbul holds a sign that reads “I’m a mockingbird.”

“We’re all staying home and listening to scientists. Well they have been telling us stuff about the climate for years: Reducing carbon emissions, transitioning to green technology, adopting a cyclical production model…”

The youth wants people in power to adopt preventative measures before it’s too late, Gören added. 

“As the youth, we want to defend our future. The climate strike is a beacon of hope in such a dire time.”