Students make final preparations for global climate strike

In a warm-up to the main event, teens, children and some of their parents gathered Wednesday night to finalize plans for what is expected to be one of the largest youth-led climate demonstrations ever.

On Friday, 800 climate strikes are expected to take place across the United States. In New York, thousands are expected to join in.

"Our main goal is to effect and influence the people in power and making the decisions, thats the headline goal of the strike, but the other goal is engagement, public engagement," said Olivia Wohlgemuth, a senior at LaGuardia High School and a leader of the group Fridays For Future.

"We have our three main demands: we want no more fossil fuels, we want to hold polluters accountable and we want a just transition to a green economy," said Alessandro Dal Bon, another teen activist helping to organize the strike.

The rally will begin at noon in Foley Square with participants marching to Battery Park. Willow and Jayden Smith are set to perform, and headlining the speakers will be famed teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who made international headlines for her trans-oceanic journey from the U.K. to New York on a clean-energy-powered racing yacht. Thunberg started the first school climate strike in sweden last year and Wednesday  was on Capitol Hill pressing Congress to address global warming.

Thunberg told lawmakers that she would not read a statement of her own, but instead submit the 2018 International Panel on Climate Change's report on global warming.

"I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action."

Friday's climate strikes come days before Thunberg will speak at the U.N. as a Global Climate Summit gets under way.

It's not just students who will be striking on Friday. The business community is also getting involved with a growing list of retailers, including Ben & Jerry's and Patagonia, saying they will close their stores during the climate strikes so that their employees can get involved, and to draw attention to the cause.