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Students in 1,700 locations across over 100 countries around the globe staged a massive demonstration on Friday, demanding that leaders in their own countries and globally take action to address the existential threat of climate change. A reported 1.4 million students walked out of school and marched and held rallies from Tokyo to Cape Town, and Stockholm to New York to raise awareness of the climate change crisis and their increasing concern that their generation will be unduly impacted by the failure to reign in greenhouse gas emissions now before it is too late. Their chants and signs tell the story:
The students are having an impact. For example, CBS News reported that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the students inspired him to hold a special summit in September to deal with what he called “the climate emergency.” “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change,” Guterres wrote in an opinion piece in The Guardian. “This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.” Photos of the strikes made local newspapers and received TV coverage as well around the globe, garnering the attention of tens of millions of people even on a particularly gruesome news day because of the shooting at the mosque in New Zealand.
Why This Matters:These student voices are a clarion call. Leaders should listen — not only because these students will be voters soon enough, but because of their sense of anxiety and urgency around climate change. There is an old adage in the conservation world — we do not inherit the planet from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Ultimately all leaders with a conscience realize this truism and seek to cement their legacy with environmental accomplishments. But addressing the climate challenge cannot be merely an afterthought — a capstone for a successful political career. It must be a “prime directive” — an organizing principle — for how we govern ourselves into the future.
To Go Deeper: You can see more photos from the climate strikes around the globe here. And check out MSNBC’s coverage, featuring an interview with Monica. Or listen to her talk about the strikes on Background Briefing, a nationally syndicated radio show.
Yesterday was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. In recognition of that, and the key role Indigenous peoples are playing in the conservation movement today in the U.S. and globally, we sat down with Raina Thiele, who is Dena’ina Athabascan, and Yup’ik, and has worked at the highest levels of government on Tribal […]
ODP: You have just taken over as Europe’s Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. Tell us how you became interested in conservation and how you have reached such an important position so early in your career? VS: As I was Minister of Economy and Innovation in Lithuania, naturally, I was expecting rather a portfolio […]
Axios Media’s Sara Fischer reported earlier this week, women are”pushing back against the gender imbalance in media” by launching their own platforms and focusing on topics many traditional news companies have long ignored. We can relate! As part of that wave, today our friends at Lonely Whale, a nonprofit that is driving societal change away from […]
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