Strikers marched from Foley Square down through Lower Manhattan three days before the United Nations climate summit.
Olivia is currently a senior at LaGuardia. In college, she is considering majoring in environmental policy and either double majoring or minoring in psychology so she can understand the psychology behind societal habits and the power dynamics that contribute to climate change. Weiss said that after watching the youth activists organize and plan in the weeks leading up to the strike, what adults can learn from youth activists has become clear.
“Adults who care really have to take [the kids’] lead. The kids are doing this because they understand what the reality is,” Weiss said. “And the reality is the science tells us that we have an increasingly small window of opportunity to engage solutions, big solutions on a massive scale. And everyone has to be involved. Everyone–not just government, not just world leaders, not just scientists and researchers and philanthropists. This has to be everyone. Every family, every community, every faith congregation, every school, every classroom.”
On Sept. 23, the New York Society for Ethical Culture will co-host a youth activist panel with other climate activism organizations like 350.org and Project Drawdown that will be moderated by former Vice President Al Gore. The youth panelists will include Alexandria Villasenor, Xiye Bastida, Jamie Margolin, Naomi Holland, and Sophie Anderson, according to Ethical NYC.
Thousands of students poured down the city streets on Friday, and there is only more action to come, Olivia said. More than 1,000 strikes occurred across the country on Sept. 20, and 130 countries participated in the movement worldwide.
“The power of that and the unity that that shows is so essential. In a movement, unity is difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to be hopeful when there are so many conflicting ideas to get on the same page within the movement,” Olivia said. “But on days like this when we’re all together, when there’s millions of people on the streets saying ‘We all want the same thing’, that’s enough to keep you going.”
Main Image: Credit Jacqui Neber