North Carolina

Internationally known teen activist Greta Thunberg joining youth strike in Charlotte

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg will be in Charlotte Friday to join an ongoing youth climate strike in uptown, according to the Climate Reality Project.

Thunberg, 16, has earned an international reputation for her success in rallying youth around the topic of addressing climate change, including a September address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

She confirmed via a Tweet to her 2.9 million followers Wednesday that she’ll attend the Charlotte “climate strike” from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. Organizers say she will address to the crowd, which could number as many as 1,000 people.

Thunberg’s visit will bring attention to an ongoing youth protest in Charlotte that started with regularly scheduled protests in February and began gaining traction in September with a “die-in” at the government center, according to a September Charlotte Observer story.

It’s estimated 500 attended the September event, many of them students who skipped school. The event coincided with similar strikes in more than 150 countries, according to the network.

Organizers of the Charlotte “die-in” included teens Kate Harrison, Lucia Paulsen and Mary Ellis Stevens, all three of whom will participate Friday, a press release said. Stevens has been staging climate change protests every Friday since February, organizers say.

The youth protests here and in other cities are focused on government “inaction” to climate change, the Observer reported.

Thunberg’s stop in Charlotte comes during an extended trip “east through the beautiful southern states in the USA to get to the East Coast,” she tweeted Monday. Her intent after leaving Charlotte is to travel to the 25th United Nations Climate Change summit (COP25) in Spain, from December 2 to 13, she tweeted.

Thunberg came to the world’s attention in August 2018, when she started “spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming,” according to a press release.

Just 15 at the time, she sat holding a sign that said: “School strike for the climate.” Her “youth climate strike” has since spread around the world.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.