Young people lead global #ClimateChange protests #ClimateStrike #ActOnClimate

Photos from the Climate Strike September 20, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

From Colorado Public Radio (Michael Elizabeth Sakas and Sam Brasch):

Students across Colorado walked out of class to help kick off an international week of climate action. Thousands of people marched down Denver’s 16th Street Mall from Union Station to rally at the state Capitol.

Amanda Opp of Lakewood High School said she is really angry about climate change.

“Our parents need to understand that this is going to be our problem,” Opp said.

Isha Kanu, a 17-year-old senior at Northfield High School, left class to show support for the Green New Deal. She says the proposal makes it so people don’t have to choose between the climate and the economy.

Sebastian Andrews, a student at the Denver School of the Arts, said he couldn’t not join the strikes.

“My biggest fear in life is that I didn’t do everything I could,” Andrews said. “I want to be on the side of history that can say, ‘I told you so and I tried.’”

The Wrights joined the strike as a family. They said they’re trying to get people to understand the issue as a “climate crisis” instead of “climate change.”

From The Denver Post (Elizabeth Hernandez and James Burke):

“It’s still this hot — and it’s September,” said 14-year-old Piper Moss, a Denver School of the Arts student who marched from Union Station to the Capitol building along with thousands. “It’s outrageous.”

Friday’s Global Climate Strike inspired dozens of youth-led movements to spring up across the state from Salida to Colorado Springs to Breckenridge. The Colorado protests joined others across the country and the globe intended to raise awareness about sustaining the future of the planet.

Abi Horton, 16, took the 16th Street Mall Ride to Union Station with a group of her Denver School of the Arts classmates. In transit, the girls wondered how much of a future they’d have left to protect if the climate crisis wasn’t taken seriously.

“People keep saying we need to preserve the Earth for our children and their children and their grandchildren, and I’m thinking,’Is the Earth going to live that long?’ ” Horton said. “I’m semi-prepared for a future that’s post-apocalyptic. I know that’s sad, but it’s true.”

Streams of people — young, old, disabled, veteran activists, new conservationists and beyond — flooded the 16th Street Mall, eventually spilling onto the lawn of the state Capitol with their protest songs and signs leading the way.

Xanthia Borg, 14, came with her Jefferson County Open School classmates and carried a sign that read “our planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.” Seventeen-year-old Sebastian Andrews from Denver School of the Arts held a sign bearing a picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy that pleaded, “Listen to this man.” Shreya Shrestha, 17, of Colorado Springs’ Pine Creek High School carried a sign reading, “Our oceans are rising and so are we.”

Shrestha and her friends drove to Denver from Colorado Springs on Friday morning, motivated to be among like-minded people and make their voices heard. Shrestha said her peers just started an environmental club at their school and plan on being louder about global warming.

“If we don’t do anything, my future won’t exist,” Shrestha said. “It’s heartbreaking and enraging.”

[…]

Minogue-Rau was among a group of middle schoolers at Denver School of the Arts who held a protest on the edge of their school grounds because they weren’t allowed to leave their campus.

“I want to die of old age,” Minogue-Rau said. “Not because of climate change.”

Inside the school, 17-year-old Amelia Gorman oversaw a letter writing campaign to local lawmakers. “We’re just a small voice of thousands,” she said. “And I think it’s unfair that those in power aren’t listening.”

[…]

Back at the Capitol, young people filled the steps leading into the building where laws are made, calling for those in power to hear them out and heed their warnings.

Hailey Hayes, a 17-year-old from South High School, said the mass turnout and unity gave her chills.

“It’s incredible,” Hayes said, looking at the crowd. “This shows that people aren’t willing to stand idly by and watch the planet burn.”

From The Associated Press (Rod McGuirk/Frank Jordans):

In Canberra and Kabul, Cape Town and Berlin, and across the globe, hundreds of thousands of people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit.

Many were children who skipped school to take part in the second “Global Climate Strike,” following a similar event in March that drew large crowds.

Events kicked off in Australia, where protesters marched in 110 towns and cities, including Sydney and the national capital, Canberra. Demonstrators called for their country, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to take more drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even though we ourselves aren’t sick, the planet which we live on is, and we are protesting and fighting for it,” said Siobhan Sutton, a 15-year-old student at Perth Modern School.

Organizers estimate more than 300,000 protesters took to Australian streets in what would be the country’s biggest demonstration since the Iraq War in 2003.

The protests are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations under the heading “Fridays for Future” over the past year, calling on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change. Thunberg is expected to speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Monday.

Hundreds of rallies took place across Europe, including in the Czech Republic, Germany, Britain and Poland, which is still widely coal-reliant and where many middle schools gave students the day off to enable them to participate in the rallies in Warsaw and other cities.

In Berlin, organizers said 80,000 people gathered in front of the capital’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, not far from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office where the Cabinet was thrashing out the final details of a plan to curb Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions .

In Helsinki, the Finnish capital, a man dressed as Santa Claus stood outside parliament holding a sign: “My house is on fire, my reindeer can’t swim.”

Smaller protests took place in Asia, including in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and India.

“We need to reclaim our constitutional right to clean air and water,” said Aman Sharma, a 16-year-old protester in India’s capital New Delhi.

In Tokyo, hundreds of students and environmental activists marched through the business and shopping district of Shibuya, chanting “Climate Justice!” while holding hand-painted placards made of cardboard with messages such as “Go Green,” ”Save the Earth,” and “the Earth is on fire.”

Smaller rallies were held in more than a dozen cities around Japan, including Kyoto, the nation’s ancient capital that hosted the 1997 climate conference.

In a quiet protest in Seoul, about two dozen environmental activists flashed messages in Morse code on LED flashlights, calling for action to rescue the earth.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, an armored personnel carrier was deployed to protect about 100 young people as they marched, led by a group of several young women carrying a banner emblazoned with “Fridays for Future.”

Fardeen Barakzai, one of the organizers and head of the local climate activist group, Oxygen, said “we want to do our part. We as the youth of our country know the problem of climate change. We know war can kill a group of people. … The problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fighting for power but the real power is in nature.”

Rallies were also held in Johannesburg and the South African capital, Pretoria, as well as Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, where some young protesters wore hats and outfits made from plastic bottles to emphasize the dangers of plastic waste, a major threat to both cities and oceans.

Climate change “is worse than homework,” one sign proclaimed.

Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the least equipped to deal with it. Governments have pleaded for more support from the international community.

Further rallies were planned later Friday in the United States, where organizers say more than 800 events are expected.

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