Monday marked the first intercontinental meeting between Climate Strikers from the global north and south, representatives from each continent have gathered at COP25 to promote the voices of young people.

Friday's For Future Press Conference at the COP25 Climate Change Conference, 4 Dec 2019
 © Bryher McKeown
Friday’s For Future Press Conference at the COP25 Climate Change Conference, 4 Dec 2019
© Bryher McKeown

As countries enter into negotiations and make decisions surrounding their own climate policy, it is imperative that youth voices are included in the debate as decisions made now will have large ongoing effects upon the future of our planet. Past international conferences have provided little to no platforms for young people to have a say in their own future, this COP will be different. We are present and we will be making their voices heard, as this movement stands in solidarity with those already effected by climate change around the globe.

Youth involvement in this pivotal event is critical as various actions will be initiated throughout the conference by strikers beginning with an opening press conference at 11:30am on Wednesday the 4th of December.

On Friday evening in the centre of Madrid there will be a climate march and school strike in which Greta Thunberg and international strike leaders will be in attendance. This march provides a unique opportunity for the expression of youth voices alongside their inter-generational peers to hold the international authorities to account.

Global Climate Strike in Athens, Greece. © Constantinos Stathias / Greenpeace
School strike in Athens, Greece, as part of the global climate strike day. The peaceful demonstration organized by Fridays for Future Athens and the student movement starts and finishes at the main square of the cit, Syntagma square, in front of the Greek parliament. The students chant “we are the generation of change” and demand from the government to listen to the scientists and act immediately to keep global temperature at 1,5°C, promoting climate justice. Words are not enough. It is time to act. Many NGOs, organizations and initiatives are present to support the students in their fight. © Constantinos Stathias / Greenpeace

While this movement has been present and active for over a year, and millions of people have taken to the streets in climate marches, strikes and protests, there has been little change. Strikers have made the immediacy of the issue known, but governments have turned their backs to this voice of reason and concern. For as long as governments ignore the voices of climate strikers and continue to fund and implement policy that contributes to the climate emergency, youth will strike against them.

System change is needed to combat the climate emergency and radical action must be taken in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The future belongs to us, the youth, and we will not sit around and watch forests burn, oceans rise, mass extinction and the air continue be polluted.

Solidarity is critical for creating change, at this COP25 climate strikers will be sharing the stories of youth at the front line of climate change and will fight for climate justice.

We refuse to be silenced by leaders and governments.

We will make our voices heard.  

Read more about the Climate Strikes and how to join here.

This post was written by Bryher McKeown, 18, and Mia Partridge, 19, from Friday’s for Future International

Bryher McKeown, 18, and Mia Partridge, 19, from Friday's for Future International 
©Bryher McKeown
Bryher McKeown, 18, and Mia Partridge, 19, from Friday’s for Future International
©Bryher McKeown