Foley Square. A place that I pass by every day, a place that I know by heart. Yet, everything looked differently on September 20. I stepped into a wide spectrum of people and we marched together to gather in the Battery Park. Two old motor-biker guys, with their cool jackets and tattoos, were shouting “Climate Action NOW!”. A young hippie couple was burning sage and walking around the Battery Park to spread good energy. A little boy, standing on his mom’s shoulders, was holding a poster that said “Save the Earth!”
And there we were, 8 NYU students fighting climate change as the youth. Right next to me, Yankı was documenting the strike and taking pictures; Aleyna was shouting slogans with all her heart. A Colombian friend who studies acting was holding a poster that made an allusion to Game of Thrones and emphasised the seriousness of global warming: “Winter is not coming!”
Some Puerto Rican friends were commemorating the second year of Hurricane Maria that battered the island. All of us with different backgrounds, all young, all worried about the future, we came together to fight for climate change. We’re here today because the glaciers are melting. We are here because the Amazon’s on fire. We are here because the people in power fail to grasp the urgency of the climate crisis. We demand immediate change.
We demand climate change action! NOW!
What we need to understand is that climate change is not only an ecological crisis. We are facing a serious political, economic, and cultural crisis. That is why we are all here together in the September 20th NYC Climate Strike. We are here to raise awareness, address the crisis and demand immediate change. Indeed the three specific demands of the NYC Climate Strike are:
- No fossil fuels
- Accountability from polluters
- Prioritisation of frontline communities
These demands emphasise the need for an immediate end to fossil fuel extraction and consumption for a globally equitable climate solution. The harshest effects of climate change fall on frontline communities. From food and water scarcity to extreme storm, millions of people are currently struggling under the effects of climate change. Polluters should pay for the damages they caused to the environment and invest in renewable energy. We need to transition to a 100% renewable economy. We should be beyond debating about climate change since global warming is not a future threat but rather the present reality.
Thankful to those who believed one person can change the world.
I am thankful to young climate activist Greta Thunberg who brought us all together. I am thankful to the old lady wearing flowers on her head with a poster that said “stop raping mother nature!” I am thankful to the dog wearing a t-shirt that says “what have you 2-legged idiots done!”
I am thankful to millions of people who joined the climate strike, to those students who skipped their class to teach the world about climate change. But most of all I am thankful to those who believed one person can change the world.
“We are a wave of change. Together, united, we are unstoppable. This is what people power looks like.” — Greta Thunberg
As Greta said, we are a wave of change! It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are at. No matter what, on that day, we were all fighting together for the climate change. Yes, Greta, we are united! We are unstoppable! We are youth! We are the Earth! We will save the Earth; change will happen. Greta’s words and the big crowd were proof of our power. We are powerful! Isn’t it so hopeful to see people from all around the world uniting for the same purpose. It’s heartwarming, inspiring and breathtaking. Trust me, considering the polarised and divided world we are living in today, it’s such an impressive and promising moment to see that we are still able to unite. And that we will unite and that we will make them hear!