The Future Has It’s Eyes On You: The Time for Urgent Climate Action is Now.
by Aidyn, age 12, Oakland, CA
Growing up, I had no idea what climate change was. Two years ago, when I was in sixth grade, I learned the truth. I learned about fossil fuels, I learned about the rising sea levels, and about the future I would have to live in.
Can you imagine the panic in a 12 year old’s mind when they realize that their future is in danger, and the adults had time to save it? My stomach still turns thinking about it. I can’t count the number of nights I have stayed up just thinking about it.
Can you imagine how nerve-wracking it is to talk to government officials with power over the air you breathe, when you’re only twelve years old? Can you imagine what it feels like having to comfort your six-year-old brother, trying to reassure him that climate change won’t kill him? Imagine hugging a child, and listing ways they can help the planet just so they can fall asleep.
Can you imagine what it’s like to go to a CalSTRS board meeting to lobby for fossil fuel divestment and be told that your comments won’t be recorded because you are under 18? You might feel like no one’s gonna hear you. You’ll just be silenced.
As youth, we are constantly silenced. But we won’t be anymore.
What do you do when you are silenced and those in power won’t listen to you? For me and other climate strikers around the world, we strike. We protest. We chant at the top of our lungs, until someone starts to hear us. If disrupting the peace is the only way you’ll listen, then so be it. We won’t let you go about your business as usual as our future disappears before our eyes.
Those of you who have been sitting this struggle out: you can’t ignore the constant signs of global catastrophe anymore. What will you say to your great-grandchildren when they ask you what Earth was like when you were younger? What should I tell my grandchildren, when they are coughing up smoke from a burning planet? Of course I’ll tell them I did everything I could. I’ll tell them I spoke truth to power, even when power didn’t want to listen. But what will you say? Did you really do everything you could? If you haven’t yet, what can you do now?
This is why the climate strikes are so important: when we all stand together, we can’t be ignored. There’s something thrilling about marching with thousands of youth for the same cause. Something thrilling about knowing that in some way, you are fighting for what many adults refuse to acknowledge.
On Friday September 20th, an estimated 20,000 youth strikers along with adult supporters, marched in San Francisco. This was the Global Climate Strike, and alongside us there were 4 million people also striking across the world. On Friday September 27th, we held our climate strike at Chevron, to demand that they stop killing our planet and polluting frontline communities. In the week as a whole, more than 7 million people took action to fight for climate justice. The action was empowering and gained so much attention from around the world.
But the crisis is not over. Join us. You are also responsible. When future generations look into their history books, which side of history will you be on? Just remember, the future has its eyes on you.