by Natasha Yen
Now, more than ever before, youth voices are breaking through ceilings, calling attention to the problem that our generation will face the devastating effects of climate change. Climate change is an undeniable crisis that every country is facing, whether they acknowledge it or not. But as the Swedish 16 year-old political activist Greta Thunberg said at COP24, the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Katowice, Poland in 2018, “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.” If you have not heard of Greta, you better start reading up! This girl is bold. Not only did she initiate the School Strikes for Climate, but she told climate leaders “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is” to their faces and accused them of “stealing [our] future in front of [our] very eyes.”
But Greta is not the only climate youth activist. In New York there is Alexandria Villaseñor. Alexandria, a 7th grader, has been skipping school to strike in front of the United Nations Headquarters. She, along with numerous other youth activists, are spearheading the School Strike 4 Climate movement. With global support and participation, youth around the world have skipped school to protest for climate action on March 15th.
But a movement can only happen if people come together and make it happen. No matter your age, you can make a difference. Do not think that just because you are not old enough to vote, you cannot have a say and that you do not have a voice. Just this February, tens of thousands of students skipped school to protest against Belgian Minister Joke Schauvliege after she suggested that school strike demonstrations were a “set up,” forcing her to resign.
We are fighting for our future and we must find the strength within each of us to go out of our comfort zone and demand action. Whether to just your relatives and friends or to larger organizations and leaders, you are making a difference. Each and every person has a voice. Now you just need to go find it.