This interview was conducted by Debbie Banks
Introduce yourself and tell us when did you join this movement and what was your motivation.
My name is Janine O’Keeffe, 57 years old and an Australian Swede, living in Stockholm. My profession is Electronic Engineering and Economics.
On the 28th of August, 2018, I met Greta Thunberg at the Swedish Parliament for the first time. Greta had started the #SchoolStrike4Climate on the 20th of August. I was very keen to support this work and ensure her voice was heard. Therefore, I created these videos:
These were sent to Australia and supported the process to build the Australian School Strike 4 Climate work.
After Greta’s speech on the 7th of September calling weekly public strikes with ‘Everybody is Welcome! Everybody is needed!’, I joined as an adult striker.
Greta often reached out to the younger strikers and I reached out to people of all ages. Quick movement building was important. In my Facebook profile from 2018, you can find the statistics of this early work. Some of this work has been summarized here:
The following week three hashtags for the everybody movement were discussed #ClimateStrike, #FridaysForFuture and #FFF. In October, I began to set up the digital side of the Fridays for Future international accounts.
My motivation was to ensure as many people's voices were heard as possible.
This is why the map and statistics are very important.
You are one of the Fridays for future organizers. What steps have been taken during this period?
With several years of work, a lot has been done and it is hard to know where to start. The beginning is summarized above and the statistics give an overview.
After many people began to join, we began regular Sunday evening meetings. This was particularly driven by a Luxemburg man and a French man. This helped to build several national teams and create work groups around the digital work, the Global Strike for Future,
- 30/11/2018: COP24, People: 26,000, Countries: 9.
2. 15/3/2019: People: 2,284,000, Countries: 134
3. 3/05/2019: People: 40,000, Countries: 75
4. 24/05/2019: People: 752,000, Countries: 127
5. 21/06/2019: People: 60,000, Countries: 94
6. 20/09/2019: People: 3,466,000, Countries: 156
7. 27/09/2019: People: 3,762,000, Countries: 151
8. 29/11/2019: COP25, People: 1,192,000, Countries: 134
9. 6/12/2019: COP25, People: 523,000, Countries: 117
10. 24/04/2020: Earth Day People: 286,000, Countries: 70
11. 25/09/2020: People: 286,000, Countries: 94
12. 19/03/2021: People: 35,000, Countries: 69
13. 26/03/2021: People: 115,000, Countries: 50
14. 7/05/2021: People: 115,000, Countries: 49
15. 21/05/2021: People: 84,000, Countries: 54, and
16. Coming shall be 24/09/2021
How can we get involved in the futures with Fridays?
Registration of everyone’s climate actions can be made here: ‘Register Strike’
And you can find local teams here:
In your opinion, what is the ultimate goal of this movement, and is it possible to achieve it?
The ultimate goal is to stop our ‘rich’ man-made Climate Breakdown as quickly as possible and live reasonably within our planetary limits.
If we do not achieve this, science history shows us, we will be forced to live within the climate and planetary limits. Even at 1.2C, this forcing is not nice and from here it just gets exponentially worse. This forcing may cause human extinction and it is already killing many. With the fires, storms, droughts, heat waves and diseases already killing many, we are seeing the exponential acceleration of the unstoppable feedback loops of climate collapse begin. Scientists say we can still reduce some of the worst long term effects, if we act earlier and not later. But already with even 1.5C temperature increase, long term effects will be devastating for many, especially in the Global South. Africa and many countries have been living through Climate Breakdown from emissions mainly from the Global North for decades. This injustice must stop immediately and the voices of the activists with Fridays for Future, School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion and many more movements are important for this.