Your planet needs you.
Our youth are empowered – United in climate activism, protesting on the streets and sacrificing their education. They scream out for change in the face of climate breakdown. Are you listening? Are you inspired? Are you ready to change?
On the 20th September 2019, there were over 2,500 events scheduled across all 7 continents, and more than 4 million people took part. During the climate strike that took place in London, I experienced an incredible atmosphere of youth leading youth, with passion, charisma and a real sense of urgency; something many movements have struggled to achieve. GenZ have a voice. They speak, they inspire, and they cause action to take place. I was blown away by the passion and conviction of the youth at the climate strike, they gave me hope that things can and will change, and that our politicians and leaders will start to take more action against the climate emergency.
After joining the global climate strike I was inspired by my peers - the older Millennials taking a stand in business and politics for climate action, the younger GenZers for sacrificing their education to raise their voices to save the planet. I try to do my part at home to be sustainable in the way I live, but these youth made me feel like I need to do more, they made me want to listen to them and stand beside them, to make their voice louder.
Research shows that there is a generational gap when it comes to understanding the climate crisis and being worried about it. In a Gallup poll about global warming R.J. Reinhart reported that: “70% of Americans age 18 to 34 worry about global warming, with 62% of those 35 to 54 and 56% who are 55 or older.” What causes this? Do the older generations really not care about our planet and its future? Our future? What I do know is that young people tend to ask questions about things that we, adults, often miss because we are used to the way we live and how society works. More youth are asking questions about climate change and nothing major is being done about it. They are asking questions that we need to hear - they are making us think in ways we need to but often do not. They give us the opportunity to change our unconsciously set and often flawed ways.
Greta Thunberg showed her generation it is okay to ask questions, hard questions, especially to our leaders. She showed more than just her generation; she showed the world that we can and should all stand up for climate change and the actions that need to happen. She has questioned society and our leaders, ‘Why do we live the way we do?’, ‘Why haven’t things changed yet?’ and ‘Why are we content to wait until it’s too late to take action?’.
We all need to start asking ourselves and our leaders these hard questions. We need to stand up for the next generation’s future and stand with them in their fight. We need to show our leaders that all generations are united in this battle for change. It means doing our part in life to live sustainably but also standing up so global policies are changed too. On October 7th International Rebellion are asking all to unite on the streets of central London, and other major cities around the world, to “peacefully occupy the centres of power and shut them down until governments act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.”  Are you willing to join them?
By Aimee Elisabeth Kyffin