Greta Thunberg achieves the largest climate protest in world history

Greta Thunberg achieves the largest climate protest in world history

How big was the global climate protest? 4 million people, activists estimate.

Friday was a truly historic day for the powerful new social movement committed to sounding a global alarm on the climate crisis. The global climate strikes, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, may end up being the largest mass protest for action on global warming in history.

The exact number of participants around the world will be difficult to obtain. But the event was truly global and surprisingly well organized: there were 2,500 events scheduled in more than 150 countries on all seven continents.

And according to, a leading environmental advocacy group and co-organizer of today's events, more than 4 million people participated worldwide.

One year and one month apart

- Natalie Wolchover (@nattyover) September 20, 2019

There were 40,000 people on strike in France; 2,600 in Ukraine; 5,000 in South Africa; 10,000 in Turkey; 5,000 in Japan; 100,000 in London; 330,000 in Australia; 250,000 in New York; and 1.4 million in Germany, told us.

(You can see photos of the strikes around the world here.)

Again, those numbers came from the event organizers, so take them with a grain of salt. That said, it is clear that Friday's actions were huge and spanned the entire world. Children and adults protested from Uganda to India, from Peru to Granada, from Spain to Anchorage. There was even a small demonstration on the Antarctic continent.

It was inspiring to see so many young people, people who can live to see a radically different world as the next century approaches, tell the adults of the world to heed the scientists' warnings and limit devastating warming by accelerating decarbonization in the next decade. On Monday, at the UN Climate Action Summit, we will find out how many were listening.

NYCs massive #ClimateStrike march has begun, from Foley Sq down Center St to Chambers St across to Broadway… and down to the Battery! Thank you @ClimateCrisis and everyone else marching!

- Gale A. Brewer (@galeabrewer) September 20, 2019

And eventually, a separate account of participants will come. The researchers are working on their own estimates of crowd size.

In 2017, Erica Chenoweth, a Harvard civil resistance expert, and Jeremy Pressman, a political scientist at the University of Connecticut, launched the Crowd Counting Consortium as a public service project to document the scope of the Women's March.

"By documenting the women's march in real time, we learned how important it was for people to be seen, witnessed, and counted," Chenoweth and Pressman wrote in a Washington Post article.

They are currently collecting data on the September 20 climate strikes in the US and side events around the world. Eventually, they will have estimates of the total crowd size to share.

Video: The disarming case to act right now on climate change. Greta Thunberg (October 2020).