Climate Strike Alternatives

Photo by Saph Photography on

I sometimes take for granted the right to free speech and assembly that I have as an American citizen. I can go to local climate strikes without fear of retaliation or arrest by the US government. Not everyone is so lucky.

Climate strikers are having a tough time in Russia. The government is uncooperative and it has been very difficult to get any protests up and running. Right now it’s basically a one-person strike.

The activist explains that part of the reason why the Russian Fridays for Future movement is so small, and why he so often protests alone is that the Moscow authorities regularly refuse to give him permits for larger rallies. In Russia, one-man pickets are the only form of demonstration not requiring a permit. Frequently protesters stand in line and take turns holding placards.

Russia’s lone climate protester pushes for Fridays for Future movement“.

Sometimes you have to go unnoticed. In this instance economic strikes might be able to help. According to a 2019 report by Deloitte the average Russian holiday budget for New Years and Christmas spending is 16,900 rubles. 42% of that budget is for gifts. If 100,000 Russian climate strikers give up gifts, that will have a $709,800,000 RUB ($11 million USD) impact on the economy. That will get some attention!

The Russian government can’t force you to buy gifts for the holidays. You don’t need a permit to organize such a boycott. Creative young people can spread the word through texting and social media instead of organizing in the streets. I do wish the in-person strikes were larger, and hopefully one day they will be, but for now this might be a viable alternative.

Keep fighting the good fight Arshak Makichyan! The global climate strike community is with you.

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