I’m striking because…
by Valentina Stackl
September 19, 2019
Young people are demanding a reckoning. It’s time for our leaders to pick a side: are they with us, the people — or with the fossil fuel CEOs wrecking the planet and our communities?
We are preparing to unite our voices on September 20th. To strike from our workplaces, our schools, and our homes. We are in a climate emergency. We must act like it.
Through unity and solidarity with young people and communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis, we can pressure political leaders to act with the urgency needed to address the scale of the climate crisis. We know another world is possible, and we have to fight for it together.
Young people are leading the way towards a future where fossil fuel companies are no longer allowed to poison our bodies, our environment, and our democracy. Young people are organizing strikes all over the world.
When Greta Thunberg arrived in New York, I had a chance to chat with young organizers of the New York climate strike. This is what they had to say.
The question: Why are you striking on September 20th?
Jade Lozada, Fridays for Future (age 17)
“I am striking because I go to school in the Bronx. And when I go there, I tutor middle school students. I live in Manhattan. I know just a few miles separate us from being affected differently by climate change. It’s not always a problem that’s halfway around the world. It’s right with people I know.”
Rachel Lee, Coordinator with Zero Hour and Core Rep for Outreach for the NYC Strike Coalition (age 16)
“I am striking because I’m 16 years old and I’m a student. The responsibility for striking and standing up for the earth falls on me because the future belongs to my generation and the generations of my friends and my sisters. Thirty years from now when I’m looking back on where I was and what I was doing when the climate crisis was going on, I would like to be able to tell my children that I stood up for the earth when I was in danger and that I helped save it. Those of us who are striking are setting an example for those who are not. Change does not wait for anyone.”
Shiv Soin, student at NYU, Logistics for NYC Strike Coalition and a group called Treeage (age 18)
“I’m striking because I’ve seen what’s going on around us, I’m looking at the adults in the room and honestly I don’t see adults in the room. I see people who are petty who are taking political differences and are using politics for our future. And with the timeline that we have, the UN IPCC report saying that we have until 2030 to get our act together…if we leave it to the adults in the room, very honestly, we might not have a planet to live on. So, I’m striking because by 2030 I’m gonna be 30 years old. If everything goes to plan, I might be coming right out of school, I’m probably gonna have a family right around that time and I don’t want to live, and I don’t want my family to live in a world that is basically about to die. So, I’m striking for our future, everyone here, we’re all striking for our future. Not just our futures but for the people that are coming now, the younger generations and the future generations as well as the older generations who will also have to live on this planet.”
Spencer Berg, Fridays for Future New York City (age 16)
“I’m striking on the 29th because our leaders have failed us. Our parents have failed us. Our corporations have failed us. The society that our parents build is no longer acceptable and will no longer be able to sustain itself while we are alive. I am fighting for the future of humankind, I am fighting for my future because if I don’t do anything — if we don’t do anything as students as youth then we’re digging our own grave. And we need to have a future. That’s what’s the most important.”
Calvin Yang, NYC Strike Coalition (age 17)
“I grew up in China, where the entire climate crisis and environmental problems run rampant. Before moving back to Canada I thought that was completely normal. I thought air pollution, water pollution was just a completely normal way of living. I realized how important this issue was after I saw what was actually going on in China and the rest of the world. That is why I started digging deep into climate change. Since I travel around the world a lot I started noticing all these places that are impacted by climate change, for example, the glacier that was featured on CNN and stuff, a glacier in Iceland called Ok, I was actually there a long time ago and I saw the ice there. And now, it’s unbelievable. The ice is gone. Furthermore, when I was in Nepal, I experienced one of the worst monsoons that ever came to the country. The farmers had nothing to grow for the rest of the year. So all these things really frustrate me. As members of Generation Z we are going to be the first generation that is really going to experience the full impact of climate change. All this going on propelled me to come out here to strike for climate change, for my own future, and the future of everyone.”