With a growing rise in awareness of our Earth’s changing climate, young people are growing dissatisfied with the lack of initiative witnessed by decision-makers. Collectively, millennials are understanding that it’s their future being compromised by the older generation’s complacency.
But it’s proving not enough to simply voice your discontent, a few teenagers have taken matters into their own hands and created a formidable resistance, even making it to the front page news. We’re keeping you in the loop with this must-know list of young people who are leading the attack, targeting ignorant higher-ups who refuse to take action.
The 16-Year-Old Demanding Inclusion
Meet Isra Hirsi, the 16-year-old who co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike (when she was 15) and now leads as Executive Director. As one of those who spearheaded the US Climate Strikes in March 2019, she had been actively lobbying her Minneapolis City Council to take action and agree to 100 percent renewable electricity by the year 2030. They wanted to push for 2050, but Hirsi managed to convince them: “it’s… what is necessary.”
Lately, Isra’s focusing her attention on intersectionality within the climate change movement: “We don’t talk a lot about how the crisis impacts black, brown, indigenous, and low-income communities.” She continues, “we don’t talk about these communities that are being affected,” highlighting that a lack of attention to the minority groups will “allow” for solutions that leave them out. She is grateful that young people are taking more action, but admits “we’re still at the beginning.”
This Indigenous Environmental Activist Provides Necessary Representation
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez was only 15-years-old when he sat on President Obama’s Youth Council, addressed the United Nations, and teamed up in a lawsuit against the government’s inaction to curb carbon emissions for the future of the youth. Affiliated with the non-profit Earth Guardians (coincidently founded by his mother,) he is “madly empowered to engage in policy in a way people wouldn’t expect.”
He is a leading voice in the global youth movement that holds the government accountable for their lack of action. “I love calling out politicians,” he admitted, as he “sees this movement [as] more global, more connected, more diverse, younger, and more intergenerational than ever before.” A descendant of indigenous Americans, he wishes to uphold his “ancestors” respect of the environment.
Impassioned Greta Is Unperturbed by Critics in Denial
Sweden’s Greta Thunberg has been making headlines with her emotional call to action addressed to world leaders, imploring them to take the threat of climate change seriously. And she has been met with much resistance from higher-ups who are claiming she is perpetuating misinformation or, simply use their platform to ridicule her appearance.
At 16-years-old, she has accomplished incredible feats in her short life. From sailing alone across the Atlantic ocean, giving speeches at Congress and the United Nations, and organizing student protests. Her efforts are being recognized as she will be rewarded with a Right Livelihood (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) Award this year.
The 17-Year-Old Using Social Media to Engage in Action
As one of the leaders of the Zero Hour movement, Jamie Margolin has been taking matters into her own hands after accepting that “no one tells kids how to be politically involved.” She used Instagram as a platform to connect with other young people who wanted to demand action and organized protests across 25 major cities in 2018.
Similarly to Isra Hirsi, she is dissatisfied with the lack of representation from people in the communities that suffer most at the hands of global warming. “When I turn on CNN, if there’s someone talking climate, it’s Jay Inslee, Al Gore, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and there’s nothing wrong with them but for any issue, the people who are most affected by it need to be the ones speaking up.”