A protest occurred in front of the White House on Friday. Those raising their voices and demanding action against climate change: youth climate activists. These young people were buoyed by the arrival of one of the leaders of the movement — Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg.
The protest and march kicked off a week of events taking place in Washington, where the world’s youth will hold conversations with politicians about issues that directly impact them, and in the case of climate control, the entire planet.
Why Friday was especially powerful for this march that traversed through DC’s Ellipse to the White House — it echoed Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, environmental protests the 16-year-old began in 2018 outside the Swedish Parliament to demand the country take steps to combat climate change.
Youth leaders of climate activist groups from around the country were leading the charge on Friday, among them Jonah Gottlieb, Director of Schools for Climate Action (S4CA) and the Executive Director of the National Children’s Campaign. of and Nadia Nazar, co-founder of Zero Hour.
Nazar’s began a series of speeches with this message, “Today is the last day politicians will continue to ignore the youth of the world.”
Several march organizers shared their stories with how climate impact had changed their lives. Gottlieb, who’s from Northern California, recalled his first visit to Washington, DC, when he saw what appeared to be ash floating from the sky.
“We need to hold our breath,” Gottlieb says he thought upon seeing the ‘ash.’ “We’re having another disaster.” And then the Californian realized — it was snow.
“At my school, we now have fire days the same way the schools across the country have snow days,” Gottlieb told the crowd. “They’re built into our schedule because it’s assumed another fire will attack our community and we’ll be unable to make it to school.”
To enforce what’s facing the planet, the youth held an 11-minute lay-down, counting down each number to signify the number of years scientists and the United Nations have given before climate change, if unresolved, becomes irreversible.
Thunberg concluded the speeches in front of the White House, saving her words for the many events she’ll be speaking at throughout the week. Instead, she thanked everyone for attending and joining in the fight.
DC-based teen Madeline Graham’s speech seemed to have foretold the energy of the crowd as it dissipated. “Truth is stronger than lies,” she’d said. “Trush is stronger than fear. I can see a better world in the faces of everyone here.”
Parentology is in Washington, DC this week, following these youth activists. We’ll keep you updated on their progress.