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With world leaders about to gather in New York for a UN Climate Action Summit next week, millions of young people worldwide will take off from school or work on Friday to demand urgent measures to stop environmental catastrophe.
Protests, inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, are planned in some 150 countries. The aim is for students and others from around the world to speak in one voice about the impending effects of climate change on the planet.
"Soon the sun will rise on Friday the 20th of September 2019. Good luck Australia, The Philippines, Japan and all the Pacific Islands. You go first!" Thunberg posted on Instragram on Thursday.
Thunberg has galvanised young people around the world since she started protesting alone with a sign outside the Swedish parliament building in August 2018. Over the past year, young people in other communities have staged scattered strikes in solidarity with her Fridays for Future movement.
In conjunction with the UN summit, organisers on Friday will hold coordinated strikes around the world for a third time, with Thunberg spearheading a march and rally in New York, home of the United Nations headquarters.
In a show of support, New York City education officials will excuse the absences of any of its 1.1 million public school students who want to participate.
Demonstrators will gather in Lower Manhattan at noon and march about a mile to Battery Park at the edge of the financial district for a rally featuring speeches and music.
Thunberg, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in March, sailed to New York from England aboard a zero-carbon emissions vessel to partake in the UN summit.
It brings together world leaders to discuss climate change mitigation strategies, such as transitioning to renewable energy sources from fossil fuels.
Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has already led to droughts and heatwaves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and floods, scientists say.
Carbon emissions climbed a record high last year, despite a warning from the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October that output of the gases must be slashed over the next 12 years to stabilize the climate.
Organisers said the demonstrations would take different forms, but all aim to promote awareness of climate change and demand political action to curb contributing factors to climate change, namely carbon emissions.
Demonstrators in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa planned to dance on the beach in a celebratory pledge to protect their natural heritage. Protesters in Istanbul were heading to a public park for a climate festival with concerts and workshops scheduled throughout the day.
On Wednesday, Thunberg appeared before several committees of US Congress to testify to the next generation's view on climate change.
In lieu of testimony, she submitted a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that urged rapid, unprecedented changes in the way people live to keep temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
"I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action," she said.
CHILDREN HAVE ECO-ANXIETY: PSYCHOLOGISTS
Children are increasingly suffering anxiety and grief about climate change, British psychologists say, advising parents to discuss the issue in an age-appropriate way, Thompson Reuters Foundation reports.
Adults must acknowledge young people's fears and offer them support in taking positive action such as joining Friday's global climate strike, said the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA), a group of psychologists and researchers.
"Children are saying things like, 'Climate change is here as revenge, you've messed up the climate and nature is fighting back through climate change'," said Caroline Hickman, a teaching fellow at the University of Bath and a CPA executive, on Thursday.
"There is no doubt in my mind that they are being emotionally impacted ... That real fear from children needs to be taken seriously by adults."
Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg has led a worldwide youth movement demanding action on global warming through weekly "Fridays for Future" protests.
Young people were left feeling "betrayed and abandoned" if adults refused to acknowledge their fears about the climate, but they also "don't need horror stories", said Hickman.
Parents should give young people facts about climate change, discuss how it made them feel, and offer them opportunities to do something proactive by considering what they consume or joining a campaign group, she said.
"A lot of the time adults want to protect children from frightening things, but if we protect them too much then we are actually lying to them," she said.
But adults should not overwhelm children with too much bad news at once, and should reassure them that it is not their responsibility to tackle the issue alone, said Hickman, who added that the CPA will shortly publish guidance for families.
The American Psychological Association said they were aware of reports of growing "eco-anxiety" in children, but research was needed to establish how common it is.
"It would not be surprising to find out that climate concerns are causing anxiety in some children," said Russell Shilling, its chief scientific officer.