A photo shared on social media claims to show the aftermath of recent climate strike demonstrations, but the image is from another event celebrating 420 months earlier. We rate the claim False. (Screenshot from Facebook) A photo shared on social media claims to show the aftermath of recent climate strike demonstrations, but the image is from another event celebrating 420 months earlier. We rate the claim False. (Screenshot from Facebook)

A photo shared on social media claims to show the aftermath of recent climate strike demonstrations, but the image is from another event celebrating 420 months earlier. We rate the claim False. (Screenshot from Facebook)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke September 24, 2019

This photo doesn’t show trash left by climate strike protesters

It’s estimated that up to 4 million people participated in a global climate strike Sept. 20 to advocate for government action on climate change. But one widely-shared photo claims those protesters aren’t practicing what they preach.

The photo, published on Facebook on Sept. 20, purports to show a field full of trash left behind by demonstrators.

"Yes, listen to the kids, they will guide our planet, I guess they haven’t learnt (sic) the basics yet," the caption reads.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) It’s been shared more than 130,000 times, so we wanted to check it out.

Turns out the photo does not show the aftermath of any climate strike demonstrations — it was taken months before they even happened.

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Using a reverse image search, we found the viral Facebook photo is at least five months old. It was originally posted online in April after an event celebrating 420, a holiday for marijuana enthusiasts, in London’s Hyde Park. 

But even in April, the image was taken out of context and miscaptioned in an effort to smear climate change protesters.

Around the same time as the 420 event in Hyde Park, climate change activists who were part of a movement called the Extinction Rebellion were protesting at various locations around central London. We found the miscaptioned trash photo in several replies to tweets from activists like Greta Thunberg, who gave a speech to the protesters April 21. The Swedish teenager is also credited with inspiring the Sept. 20 climate strike.

The Facebook post is inaccurate. We rate it False.

Our Sources

BBC, "Extinction Rebellion: Climate protesters march on Parliament," April 23, 2019

Facebook post, Sept. 20, 2019

The Guardian, "Humanity is at a crossroads, Greta Thunberg tells Extinction Rebellion," April 21, 2019

Snopes, "Were Piles of Rubbish Left in Hyde Park By Global-Warming Protesters?" April 23, 2019

The Tab, "People aren’t happy about the litter chaos in Hyde Park from 4/20," April 21, 2016

TinEye, accessed Sept. 24, 2019

Tweet from Greta Thunberg, April 21, 2019

Twitter Moment, Sept. 21, 2019

USA Today, "Friday's global strike was likely the largest climate rally ever," Sept. 21, 2019

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More by Daniel Funke

This photo doesn’t show trash left by climate strike protesters

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