On Friday, millions of protestors around the globe made their voices heard. Their demand: save our planet.
More than 150 countries held marches, all leading up to this week’s United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit on September 23. Many of these protests were organized through factions of Fridays for Future, the movement started by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who challenged her country’s Parliament to take action towards climate control, garnering a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in the process.
As for Thunberg, she was part of New York City’s march, where over a million students were given permission to skip school to join the protest. In a Twitter post leading up to her speech, Thunberg estimated a crowd of 250,000.
Addressing the crowd, Thunberg said, “We have not taken to the streets, sacrificing our education, for the adults and politicians to take selfies with us and tell us that they really, really admire what we do. We are doing this to wake the leaders up. We are doing this to get them to act. We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future.”
Two young marchers in the crowd – members of the family movement Sustaining All Life — shared their reasons for taking part in the strike with Parentology.
“If we [young people] don’t act, no one else will do it,” Violet McShane, a 15-year-old from Philadelphia who’d made the trek to NYC says. “We can’t rely on the adults who have made all the mistakes for us. We have a voice and need to use it.”
Her 13-year-old sister Pearl chimes in matter-of-factly, “If we don’t change the way we treat the Earth, then there won’t be an Earth.”
Parentology staff had a bi-coastal presence at the marches. In Washington, DC, we marched through John Marshall Park to the Capitol Building, where leaders in the youth climate movement took to the podium to speak to the crowd. Behind the stage, emotions ran high, with hugs and incredulity at the outpouring of those lending their voices.
Zero Hour team members Nadia Nazar and Ethan Wright served as emcees. Wright proclaimed to the crowd what is emerging as a war cry, “We will not be known as Generation Z, the last letter of the alphabet. We are Generation GND, the generation of the Green New Deal!”
Across the country in Southern California, Parentology team members joined strikes in communities from Irvine to Northridge.
Tessi Barresi fell into step with Los Angeles marchers. “I felt both despair and hope,” she tells Parentology. “Mother Earth is suffering and she is not the only one.”
Barresi continues, “The diversity of the strikers was a stunning representation of all those who have suffered, are suffering or will suffer if greater action is not taken.”
What she asks of the world population – “Get motivated. Find community. Educate yourself.”
And finally, “Take responsibility.”