This past week, the younger generation proved it just might be able to do what older generations have struggled to accomplish – unite to combat climate change.
Young people from 25 countries on five continents joined together for the largest ever youth movement on climate change. The marches were organized by iMatter, an organization that was started by 16-year-old Alec Loorz. This teenager created quite a movement, as the past week’s events confirm:
In San Francisco, CA, Ted Turner reportedly joined Loorz in leading the city’s march nearly two years after the media mogul made a promise to the young activist to do so. iMatter reports that Salt Lake City, Utah students involved the state’s ACLU to fight permit roadblocks posted by the Utah Department of Transportation. In Kuwait City, Kuwait, an oil executive’s 17-year-old son organized a march.
In Denver, Colorado, a march and rally gathered youth and adults alike to call for climate change action. According to iMatter, marchers chanted, musicians performed, and speakers (including Daryl Hannah) rallied the crowd with one unified message around climate action.
Jerry Cope, an environmental activist/journalist/filmmaker, attended the Denver march, and said that despite deteriorating weather, the affair was quite festive.
“The event was smooth and the organizers did a great job, especially the young people, who were out in force. Everyone was very focused on demanding action to ensure a stable climate for not only the generations living now, but those yet unborn. iMatter joins 350.org and GCCA in a global movement to demand that political and business leaders work together to address the growing threat of anthropogenic climate change while there is still time.”
KWGN Denver reports that thousands of people converged on Downtown Denver, where at one point Alex Loorz shouted to the crowd, “This is what a movement looks like. This is what a revolution looks like. This what the world has been waiting for.”
Beyond the marches, young people are taking legal action. Last week, the youth movement initiated legal and administrative action in all 50 states to push for climate solutions. According to iMatter, the effort is being led by a legal team that includes former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey.
Ultimately, the marches and the legal actions push for “Climate Recovery Plans” in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
Ten-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, one of the plaintiffs, told The Colorado Independent, “We hope that by doing this, the government will realize we are in big trouble and will do something to protect the atmosphere.”
Perhaps the significance of the youth marches is best revealed by a statement that Roske-Martinez made earlier, when the 10-year-old said, “Our future is in jeopardy, and our Earth won’t even be worth inheriting because of the decisions that the leaders of our country are making.”
Photo of previous march provided courtesy of iMatter.