Young climate activist leads global strikes

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Young climate activist leads global strikes

Yasmin Vizguerra, Editor

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 Young people from across the world are participating in a global climate strike that happened on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27. 

      The entire thing comes from the Swedish 16-year old, Greta Thunberg, who last year demanded a change from government and business action on climate, by protesting weekly. 

      This is reported to be the largest environmental protest in history.

      The Global Climate Strike comes after the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23 where countries discussed ways to work out a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

      Thunberg has become an influential figure in climate activism among youth.

      Since she no longer flies due to carbon emissions, she went to Washington D.C. via zero-emissions sailboat.

      While in Washington D.C., she spoke with house representative Nancy Pelosi and lawmakers before heading to New York City for the strikes and the summit.

      The strikes are big for Thunberg after her 2018 efforts in her home country where she’d skip schools on Friday to protest outside the Swedish Parliament.

      Now, thousands of people in the movement, called “Fridays for Future,” strike every Friday to demand more aggression from their government.

      “I feel hopeful for our future when I read about the strikes. In order to make a change we have to speak up and to be honest, I wish I had the confidence Greta has to step up and make the change. We need more people like her,” said Madeline Gierzynski (‘20).

      The timing of the strikes, just before the UN Summit, was essential. The summit took place in order to push countries to make tougher climate targets and faster transitions to renewable energy sources.

      Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries vowed to work towards the goal of limiting the warming of the century that is 2 degrees Celsius less than the pre-industrial level, though countries set their own goals.

     On the second strike, which took place in Montreal, 315,000 people gathered to strike.

     While 67 countries indicated their intentions to commit to climate action by the end of 2020, the summit failed to deliver big commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s largest emitters; the United States, China, and India.

      On the strike on Sept. 20, 250,000 people attended in New York City where Thunberg spoke at Battery Park. It’s estimated that four million people worldwide were striking across the globe. 

      Those gathering to strike called it “climate justice,” saying it was an ethical obligation and not just an environmental issue. 

      “I think what she’s doing is incredible. It’s so important for the older generation to realize that just because their habits won’t affect their immediate future, that doesn’t mean it won’t affect someone they love,” said Reese Foytik (‘20).

      On the website, globalclimatestrike.net, it’s recorded that through both strikes, 7.6 million people took to the streets and striked for climate action.

      Though Thungberg has caught the attention of many, it seems as though they aren’t listening.

      Through scientific research, it shows the upcoming generation will have a frightening future if the planet continues to warm, the evidence becoming more and more terrifying this past July after the globe experienced the hottest month on record.

      Those participating in all, 25% were under the age of 18.

       Some schools, colleges, and universities suspended classes for those protesting and public transit was also free.

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