Young climate activists marched in New York today to call for climate justice and end the burning of fossil fuels.
As the strikers made their way to the financial district of Lower Manhattan, halting traffic in New York City, the busy streets filled with chants such as “sea level is rising, so are we”, “Keep that carbon in the ground” and “There is nothing natural about natural gas.
The path followed the same route as the biggest climate strike of 2019 when Greta Thunberg made an appearance. Among the faces of the march to Battery Park, where the crowd heard speakers and musicians, were prominent young activists such as Alexandria Villaseñor, Jerome Foster II and Jamie Margolin.
Villanseñor told CNN her goals have evolved since she started going on strike at 13.
“The movement has really changed over the past year,” she said. “The climate crisis continues to become more and more urgent. In the latest UN climate report released in August, the language changed to be more urgent, saying that we are already affected and now we just need to mitigate. It was prevention before, but now we have to mitigate.
Foster, currently the youngest member of the White House Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, told CNN he wore red to represent the findings of the landmark UN State of the Science on Climate Change report, which has been called a “code red for humanity.”
“Our requirements have changed. We are no longer just children who are on the streets, we are now in a position of authority, ”he said. “Now we are taken seriously, we have a seat at the table, we are going to make sure everyone at this table understands the pressing urgency and takes action.”
Margolin, co-founder of the Zero Hour climate organization which joined the movement in 2016, also wore red to represent a world on fire. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which experienced a record-breaking heat wave this summer that scientists say would have been “virtually impossible” without man-made climate change.
“It’s been such a long journey, and it’s really overwhelming in a good way to see such joy and resilience right now because it’s been such a dark time for so long,” she said. told CNN. “Online activism just isn’t the same, especially with so many climate disasters happening.”