Nick Perry, Associated Press
Published Friday, September 27, 2019 1:44 EDT
Last updated Friday, September 27, 2019 3:23
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Tens of thousands marched to the New Zealand Parliament on Friday, launching a second wave of protests worldwide calling for swift action on climate change.
The protests were inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who spoke to world leaders this week at a United Nations summit in New York.
A march to Parliament in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, was one of the largest protests ever held in the country and organizers had to change their security plans to accommodate the growing crowd. Thousands marched in Auckland and other parts of the country.
Several million people participated in the so-called global climate strike last Friday, which was scheduled to coincide with the UN meeting. New Zealand and several other countries focused their protest efforts on the second wave, marking a week in which climate change was at the forefront of global conversation.
Thunberg said he plans to attend a protest in Montreal.
"New Zealand leads the way for Friday # 2 on .WeekForFuture," she tweeted. "Good luck to everyone who is attacking the world. Change is coming !!"
In Wellington, 18-year-old college student Katherine Rivers said it was great to see young people acting and taking personal responsibility while marching.
"We need to stop citing some of the people who are making money from climate change. Big oil companies, the dairy industry, etc.," she said. "And make a change for the future of these kids who are here."
Rivers, who studies marine biology and environmental studies, said he hopes to pursue a career in improving the environment, adding that "I hope to have a career."
While thousands of high school students chose to take time off from school to protest, there were also parents, office workers and many other adults who joined the marches. One was the three-year-old grandmother, Violet McIntosh, 83.
"We're not thinking about my future," said McIntosh.
She said it was time for politicians to stop talking and start acting. She said they should listen to young people like Thunberg, which she described as "amazing".
"She stood out on her own to start it all. Millions of people are following her now," McIntosh said. "She should be very proud of herself."