Why Digital Striking Is Important

Collage of people's pictures holding a sign for a digital strike

It has always been crucial to manifest in such a manner that we can generate an impact on those around us and our problems can be recognized. The impression that large social mobilizations generate is such that a large amount of attention is given to the problem that we want to be addressed. Our petitions begin to take space and our demands start to get heard, therefore creating the perfect situation for a positive outcome. The power that we hold in ourselves and in the decisions we take is most definitely enormous, as the various movements that have taken place through the years are perfect examples of how our voices can count and taking space matters. 

With that being said, it is important to recognize the toll that COVID-19 represents for striking and making public manifestations. Having a global pandemic going on means to reduce the risk of contagion as much as we can, which in this context means to stay at home and avoid direct contact with large groups of people. Obviously, this means that large reunions are out of the equation, with most of the big plans that climate activists had for the year falling through. What is there to do then? The situation is unexpected and puts at risk the momentum we have built until now. Taking as much space as we can is urgent in a context where time is limited and we can only do so much before climate change starts becoming irreversible.

Whenever faced with an obstacle, we need to start seeing it as an opportunity to innovate and recognize the true potential of the tools we have at hand.

The potential that the Internet and social media have should be highly recognized, particularly during these times. Even when we are all social distancing, it helps us stay connected and aware of what is going on in other parts of the world. The interconnectedness that social media and other platforms provide us is key to making climate activism as notorious as before. As activists, we have to recognize the opportunities that creating an online community offers. We are able to meet more people, reach more users, and have a variety of updates at all times that help us keep informed. Our events can now go even far beyond local, with people from other regions and countries joining in to participate. The chances of making a larger impact are now very much at our reach.

Right now, it is time to take action and to fight for a better climate for everyone. Digital striking allows us to keep our strengths and to be as united as ever while using the different digital media that are available. Through global outreach, our goals can get to new dimensions and we can become more innovative than before.

This weekend’s digital strike for the world manifestation against the climate crisis, which used the hashtags #25S and #ClimateJusticeNOW truly shows how we can all work together without the need of being physically close. Young people pushed their governments through mass tweeting, social media takeovers, and direct outreach to elected officials efficiently, as we have all grown up with the use of technology.

We forced the conversation to go into the topic of climate change and for our countries to recognize the problem, which is crucial at a time where treaties like Escazu need to be ratified immediately and climate defenders demand protection against constant attacks.

Taking the digital space as well as manifesting physically help to dominate both sides of communication and therefore makes our impact bigger. Organizations like Greenpeace and Fridays For Future have helped their presential mobilization hugely with the help of the internet and the outreach that it provides. Even if you are in a completely different country or timezone, it is possible to keep track of different events and see the strikes through live streams and constant media updates. Therefore, even when we are physically apart, we have demonstrated that we are still committed to protect our planet and resolve climate issues. We should not see this distancing as an obstacle for our plans but rather as an opportunity to learn more about digital tools and to help us connect our efforts in a global manner.

Let’s not forget that the future is in our hands. Even if everything seems down now, we still have the capability to change the world.

Picture of a person holding a sign that says "Escazu Now" in the middle of a strike
In Peru, a strike was organized with the help of social media to pressure the government for the ratification of the Escazu Treaty.