We didn’t start the fire

Teens around the world launch a strike for climate change

  • Environment
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Rising sea levels, animals that may die or become extinct, and running out of water are just a few things youths worry about if climate change is not slowed or reversed. (Illustration by Carolina Ortiz)

 

Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, has had enough. Climate change is happening, and she wants the people in power to do something about it. She’s not alone. Thousands of kids echo her fear for the future. They’re planning a global strike from school on Friday, March 15, to show it. When asked, “What’s the one most important message they want the world to hear,” this is how so-called Climate Kids replied:

CANADA

Sophia Mathur, 11

I want the politicians to listen to the experts and cooperate.

UNITED STATES

Mary Ellis Stevens, 13

We must act now before the damage becomes irreversible, and we, the youth of this nation and this planet, will not stop until there is climate action.

FINLAND

Atte Ahokas, 15

We children and teens have had enough of your empty talk about climate. We don’t need more of your empty opinions. We need action now.

CANADA

Rebecca Hamilton, 16

We strike from school because we cannot continue with business as usual in the face of this crisis. By temporarily putting our normal lives on hold, we are setting an example of urgency that we demand all levels of government to immediately follow. This is an emergency. Act like it.

PORTUGAL

Pedro Amaral, 17

The message of this movement is clear: we can be less than half the world’s population, but we are 100% the future.#SchoolStrike4Climate is a lesson given by the youngest people to all the humankind: in a global era, it is necessary to have the maturity to be together, no matter your ideologies, in the critical issues. #SchoolStrike4Climate is the synonym of change, the social change, where we have to be the change we want to see.

UNITED STATES

Jamie Margolin, 17

I want the world to understand how this really is Zero Hour to act on climate change. I don’t want the world to see all of us striking and think “that’s impressive, the kids are getting politically active these days.” I want them to panic like we are. I want them to listen to the words coming out of our mouths that are demanding climate action now.

SOUTH AFRICA

Ruby Sampson, 17

The world needs to wake up and smell the burning of our planet. We need to pull our heads out of the sand and act. I want everyone to walk away from the march not feeling guilty, but inspired and motivated to change the way they live, change the way their families live. The main message, however, is not for the world, but for the governments and giant corporations that are stealing the future from our generation, so theirs can make bigger profits.

U.K. (GREAT BRITAIN)

Sophie Sleeman, 17

Beyond borders, political frays, and money, we are one species and one not separate from nature. By working together as ambassadors for the planet, we can not only help to sustain it, but create new social structures, which will resolve the tensions left by the generations before us.

COLOMBIA

Juan David Giraldo Mendoza, 18

People, adults, have two options: Join us or give up. There is nothing that can stop this movement. We have started and we will finish. Change is coming, whether they like it or not. I want to thank responsible adults that have supported us since we began. Keep doing this.

COLOMBIA

Alejandro Lotero, 18

The message I want to give to the world: We are awake, and our voices will continue to rise every Friday until our leaders comply with the Paris Agreement. We will go out to defend biodiversity, our trees, our water, and our climate. Be realistic – this movement started by Greta Thunberg will continue to expand all over the world. Real power belongs to the people, so let us unite, save our planet, and save the generations here, and those that come in the future.

HUNGARY

Petra Buru, 20

I would like everyone to realise the importance of taking action against climate change: The fact that our future is at stake! More importantly, we are in a time crunch. We have to act NOW.

UGANDA

Nakabuye Hilda Flavia, 20

Our earth is dying. You can save it. Take climate action to protect the future. We are the future, and we demand climate action now.

JAPAN

Aina Koide, 21

Do not be satisfied by achieving a global strike. Let’s use it to develop action all over the world and change the world.

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Follow iGeneration Youth @iGYGlobal on Twitter.

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