Global Climate Strike: Youth Empowerment

Zephan Deepu, and Miles Gorman, Writer and Layout Editor

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Youth stood up for their planet all over the world Friday, September 20, 2019, as the Global Climate Strike, led by Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, commenced. 175 countries participated and there were 100,000 people who marched in New York alone, with more support from their windows, hanging flags or signs, or cheering on the protesters below. Greta Thunberg was there for the UN climate conference.

 

The Story of Greta

Before discussing the global climate strike, it is important to introduce the woman who is leading it, Greta Thunberg. Thunberg was born in Sweden and exposed to the harms of global warming at the early age of 8 in school. While other kids didn’t seem to care that much, she couldn’t stop thinking about how detrimental climate change was. The reason she thought so much about it was because she had Asperger’s, which is an illness that causes anxiety and causes the affected to develop very focused interests. Greta developed a focus on the climate change issue, and made a promise to “do everything [she] could to make a difference.” She started skipping school to protest against climate change. People started to hear about her and what she was doing, so the next day others started to join her. They striked for 21 days straight, and by then, everyone in Sweden knew her name. Although Greta also has mutism, which creates difficulty with public speaking, the strike led to her first public speech in front of thousands of people, during which she spoke powerfully in fluent English. After this speech, she became famous globally. Students around the world decided to help Greta take a stand against climate change. They invited her to America to help lead the Global Strike movement. She came to America in her hydro-powered yacht with solar panels, without leaving a carbon footprint. This was a fifteen-day long voyage but it ended with loud cheers from crowds in New York. From a single person protest in Sweden, to a global strike against global warming, Greta Thunberg influenced a movement that will have a huge impact in history.

Youth Are Stepping Up In Fight Against Global Warming

It was certainly a day of youth empowerment and it showed the power a single child can have. Students marched in the streets, led by Thunberg. New York City even gave their students the day off of school to participate. Thousands of students outside of New York City all flocked to New York or their own town halls or courthouses to demand climate action. Their point was that they would face the force of climate change as the current adults would already have passed away. An activist in our very own town of Morristown said, “I do this because our current incumbents will be well into their seventies when we face the severe and nearly unavoidable effects of climate change. I want to know that when I grow up and when my kids grow up they won’t need gas masks and oxygen tanks to go play outside. While [politicians are] sitting in their offices and happily denying, I have to be in the streets fighting for my life.” 

FMS Was Represented In Both NYC and Morristown

FMS didn’t slack either. At least four kids from our school participated, including Miles Gorman, Arien Deepu, and Zephan Deepu. Zephan and Arien headed out of school to go join the battle lines in New York City. Miles Gorman attended the protest in Morristown, holding up a sign that said: “Denial Is Not A Policy” on one side and “When We’re All Extinct, How Much Will Corporate Profits Matter?” on the other. They shed light on the inaction of the government and how corporations are recklessly endangering Despite the heat, he stood on the steps with all the other youth in front of Morristown’s town hall, behind the microphone. In New York City, Arien and Zephan marched in huge crowds in the streets of New York City chanting and yelling. They were part of the more than 100,000 people there that day. They reported their experience as “So hot, and so loud, there were so many people in one area that cell service didn’t have big enough [bandwidth] for all the people.” 

Protests Held In Many Towns, Including Morristown

Over 75,000 counties, cities, and towns in the US alone held their own protests, and Morristown was no exception. More than a hundred people gathered at the town hall to see speakers like members of the Sunrise Movement, a student-run organization aimed at stopping climate change. Other speakers included political candidates, student activists from other organizations, and many adult activists from all kinds of places, organizations, and movements. The youth stood on the steps, behind the speakers, “Willing to do whatever it takes to save the planet” as one speaker put it. 

While large protests like the global climate strike occur, it’s important for as many people to participate as possible. It is crucial for everyone to take a stand and protest against the ways carbon dioxide is excessively immiten in the world. What will you do to take a stand?

 

Bibliography:

  • Whiting, Tabitha. “The Story of 16 Year Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg.” Medium, Medium, 1 June 2019, medium.com/@tabitha.whiting/greta-thunberg-i-promised-myself-i-was-going-to-do-everything-i-could-to-make-a-difference-cb6fade1904.