March 15 (UPI) -- Students walked away from classrooms worldwide Friday to draw attention to climate change, in demonstrations meant as a call to political and business leaders for action.
The walkout is happening in many nations around the world -- including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, South Africa, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, France, Britain and Germany.
In the United States, the event is called the Youth Climate Strike. It's an extension of similar protests in Sweden last summer, which gained attention when a Swedish teen delivered a speech at the United Nations climate summit and criticized delegates for not doing more to fight a man-made problem.
"I've always been passionate about fixing something when I see something is wrong," 12-year-old Denver student Haven Coleman, a co-founder of the organization planning U.S. strikes, told NPR.
In the United States, climate change organizers are planning walkout demonstrations in nearly every state in support of the Green New Deal, the resolution pushed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that calls for a transition to all renewable energy by 2030.
"The political climate in the States right now is doing nothing," 17-year-old Max Prestigiacomo, who's organizing a Wisconsin demonstration, told NBC News. "They're bargaining with our future.
"When our president ... goes on television and says everything we're taught in school is wrong, how do you think that makes students feel? All I want is evidence-based politics."
President Donald Trump has in the past called climate change a "hoax." In 2017, he pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, a 195-nation pact that established stringent standards to restrict carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases scientists say contribute to global warming.
Students who walked out in Japan Friday sang songs and others held signs with messages like "Save Our Planet" and "We Only Have One Earth," to support new action to fight man-made environmental warming. About 30,000 participated in a demonstration in Sydney, Australia, early Friday.
"As students, we helped defeat apartheid," South African environmental activist Kumi Naidoo said. "The climate strikers can win their fight too."