Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report stating we have roughly 11 years to reverse the environmental damage that humans have caused on the Earth. Considering how today's youth don’t have much time to age into institutional positions of power, they've decided not to wait for the adults to make the change. Today students around the globe are using their voices to bring awareness to the lack of climate change action that has been done, and the urgent need for solutions to ensure an environmentally clean future. Here are five things you need to know about the youth climate strike:
1.) It all Started With a 16-Year-Old's Solo Protest in Europe
Every Friday, Greta Thunberg stood outside of the parliament in Sweden, holding a sign and demanding more action on climate change. Her solo protest inspired thousands of people to join the movement, leading to mass protests in support of Swedish government intervention. Thunberg's activism has led her to speak out at the United Nations’ COP24 Climate Change Conference, and she's been given her own TED Talk on the importance of giving attention to environmental issues. Additionally, she was recently was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Now, tons of school children are walking in her footsteps, organizing for school strikes around the world, with more than 100 countries participating in the climate change school strike on March 15.
2.) Ilhan Omar’s 16-Year-Old Daughter Is One of the Leaders of the Climate Strike in the U.S.
Yes — Black girls want climate change action too! Isra Hirsi, along with three other youth activists, created US Youth Climate Strike to organize the march and get the word out to students about the protests. The group has gotten support from environmental justice organizers, such as Greenpeace, and has gathered the signatures of over 100 scientists, petitioning the U.S. government to take serious and immediate action. When asked by Elle what she would say to Trump in a sit down about climate change, Hirsi said, “The young people of America and the young people of the world don’t want you to be playing with their lives. They’re not going to just sit down and listen to you. We’re going to stand up and fight for as long as it needs to happen, until you and the other politicians in office value our lives, just like you value your own.”
3.) Demands Include Real Legislative Action — and Does a Good Job of Calling Out the Adults
The youth want a declaration of a national emergency on climate change, a Green New Deal that prioritizes communities of color, 100 percent of renewable energy plan by 2030, and an education curriculum that includes in-depth information on climate change for elementary students. They also provide solutions they believe can reverse its effects such as reforestation and new emission reduction standards, noting that these can only be put in place on a governmental level.
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4.) This Isn’t the First Time Youth Have Protested for Climate Change in the U.S.
Members of the Sunrise Movement, a youth climate change organizing group, presented a letter asking California Senator Dianne Feinstein to back the Green New Deal, which has garnered attention from Democrats. Feinstein’s refusal to listen to their demands was a classic example of the type of treatment met by adults, particularly politicians, who have dismissed youth protests and neglected any real climate change action. The tense exchange posted on their social media went viral and drew backlash toward Feinstein, while raising awareness of the slow implementation of political change.
5.) You Can Support the Strike by Joining the March in Participating States
Adults can uplift youth voices by adding to the number of people who are taking to the streets. US Youth Climate Strike has displayed on their website a map of all of the states that will be hosting walkouts. If you can’t make it to the protests, you can wear their march as a sign of solidarity or simply wear green. “Just because I can’t vote yet, I’m not going to sit idly by,” Hisri told Buzzfeed News. As adults, neither should we.
Now, check this out:
Here’s What You Need To Know About The Green New Deal
4 Black Environmental Orgs You Should Know About
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Combating Climate Change Will Be “The Civil Rights Movement Of Our Generation”