Teen Climate Change Strike Is Inciting a Wave of Change



By Keana Saberi

Keana Saberi, Editor in Chief

A collection of students from around the world are forming a unified coalition for a common cause. The actions of one young teen are setting off a chain reaction, inciting a wave of change: a movement that is defining the youngest generation.

The organization School Strike 4 Climate, led by young and empowered Greta Thunberg and a collection of other teens around the world, is inspiring the minds of many and shedding light on the climate change crisis. There are several protests across Australia, Germany, England, Ireland, and a wide variety of other countries around the world during multiple days. This included Feb. 15 and several Fridays during the month of February, January, and March. With this, the movement of young activists is becoming more and more fervent.

Youth Climate Strike US is another like-minded organization led by Alexandria Villasenor, a 14 year-old New Yorker who has continuously skipped school to protest outside the United Nations Headquarters. This organization is taking hold in the U.S. and has stemmed from the work of several teen protesters including Isra Hirsi, age 16, who is one of the co-founders and co-directors for the U.S Climate Strike, along with Haven Coleman, a 12 year-old activist who is strong in her stance. These girls are only a small fragment of those who have already voiced their concerns and actively protested.

In the U.S., students in 30 states  pledged to take part in a worldwide climate strike on March 15th. The Youth Climate Strike organization has formulated their plan of action for the U.S. Government and the country’s climate change policies. The plan began with enforcing the Green New Deal, an act of legislation that puts measures in place against the burning of fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. This act would also spark government discussions fueled only by scientific research, according to the organization’s official website.

Their mission is to speak out against the inaction from current policy makers and to attempt to transform climate change legislations. With all of this in place, members of this organization have taken to the streets, protesting in front of their cities’ government buildings, showing that these young voices are to be taken seriously. These students have faced backlash from government officials, but continue to protest for what they believe is right.

On the day of the worldwide protest, Austin teenagers will be taking part in the strike in front of the State Capitol Building. Though this movement is not as well known as it is in other countries, it is expected that many students will stand in support of this cause.  This stand of solidarity will show how many individuals are in involved and how hard this generation is willing to fight.

While the capitol building is the main focal point of this protest here in Austin, some students will be taking part in an 11 minute strike outside school buildings, symbolizing the 11 years left until climate change’s detrimental causes will begin to take effect and and the Earth will rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above today’s average temperature. Though many believe this is an  exponential issue, teens in our own school are largely unaware of this subject. Many students who I have talked to, who may remain nameless, questioned the very principle of climate change and many completely are uninformed. According to a Yale University study, 54%  of American teenagers are aware of climate change compared to 63% of adults which shows a great majority of uneducated people. Though this ignorance is a major problem, it roots from the lack of discussion of climate change, which is in part due to the school system especially in America. This demonstrates what is focused on in American schools, because though mathematics and foreign languages are important, so is the future of our planet.

This is and should be a bipartisan issue. Even though politics may often divide our country, this is our future at stake. This impacts all of us and will continue to affect generations to come. The power of this movement is ready to spark change in how climate change is viewed. Quoting the rallying cry of many protesters, “There is no planet B.”