A couple of years ago, at the age of 15, a young Greta Thunberg started spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign reading Skolstrejk för klimatet. It surely didn’t take long for her message to spread and, soon after that, other students began engaging in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organised a school climate strike movement called Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, these student strikes took place every week in different parts of the world. In 2019, there were multiple coordinated multi-city protests involving over a million students each.
NASA showed that, since 1880, nineteen of the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998 and the year 2016 was ranked as the warmest one on record. Furthermore, the rise in global temperature has led to major changes in climate and has been negatively impacting the environment. Scientists have reported a nearly 13% decrease per decade in the Arctic sea ice minimum, an increase in stronger, more destructive storms and an increase in extinction and animal endangerment, to mention a few.
Many are now the young activists fighting climate change. Get to know some of the people hoping to change the world.
1. Jamie Margolin
Jamie Margolin is a 19-year-old first-generation daughter of a Colombian immigrant and the co-founder of the climate action organization Zero Hour, in reaction to the response she saw after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and her personal experience during the 2017 Washington wildfires. As a queer, Jewish, Latina climate activist, Margolin is committed to advocating for the most vulnerable communities.
2. Mari Copeny
Mari Copeny is a 12-year-old activist and philanthropist. She is on the front lines helping kids to embrace their power through equal opportunity. When the Flint Water Crisis began in Flint, instead of feeling helpless, Mari decided to use her voice to help out her community and to fight for the kids in Flint. Since then, she has expanded her effort to help communities across the nation dealing with toxic water.
3. Xiye Bastida
Born and raised in San Pedro Tultepec, a town outside of Mexico City, Xiye Bastida is an 18-year-old climate activist and member of the indigenous Mexican Otomi-Toltec nation. She is one of the major organisers of Fridays for Future in New York City and has been a leading voice for indigenous and immigrant visibility in climate activism. She is also on the administration committee of the People's Climate Movement and a member of the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion.