Kids call for action on climate change

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Young people across Manhattan skipped class last Friday to protest inaction on a critical issue facing their generation — climate change.

“We only have 11-and-a-half years until we start seeing some serious changes that we can’t do anything about,” warned Anna Simmons,16, from Soho.

Simmons, like the hundreds of other young people who marched to the American Museum of Natural History, wanted adults to “stop acting like children.” They called for the passage of legislation like Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to mitigate the devastating effects of the earth’s rising temperature.

The young protesters started out at City Hall. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

The protest was truly part of a global effort since children in 400 other cities across the nation and in more than 100 countries protested in hopes that their elders would listen.

Humanity has less than a dozen years to modify the global energy infrastructure in order to slash greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, according to a United Nations report released in October 2018.

The report lists devastating droughts, rising sea levels and damaging storms as just some of the negative consequences of failing to keep the earth’s temperature in check.

Students across the world held a “climate strike” on Fri., March 15. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

It was seeing the number 12 — as in, less than 12 years till major climate change kicks in — in a CNN headline on his cell phone that shocked 16-year-old Spencer Berg into action.

“That’s when I realized how screwed we are,” said Berg, who was skeptical until he read the U.N. report himself. “I thought climate change was far away — and then just seeing the number…that’s when I realized I had to do something and I have to do it now.”

Young activists raised the cry for environmental sanity outside City Hall. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

The day began at 9:30 a.m. outside the United Nations, where fellow New York City climate strikers have silently protested every Friday since December.

Young people, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, also gathered outside City Hall. They waved signs and passed around microphones to vent their frustrations.

“We deserve a future!” they chanted, in hopes that some elected official would listen.

The planet isn’t a political football: Climate strikers kept an inflatable Earth aloft near the U.S.S. Maine Monument at Columbus Circle. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

The young demonstrators then traveled Uptown to Columbus Circle, where dozens of teens climbed onto the statue of Christopher Columbus while toting megaphones and signs.

Afterward, the young climate activists marched even farther Uptown to the American Museum of Natural History, where they staged a die-in.

The crowd of young protesters was diverse, but they all shared the belief that they have the power to enact change.

It’s all moot if we can’t save the planet. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Many attributed their conviction to the efforts of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who, in August 2018, started protesting outside the Swedish Parliament, calling for action against climate change.

Thunberg started the first school strike and inspired all the climate strikes that occurred last Friday.

Calling on our leaders to get the priorities straight. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

“The kids really understand the power of one,” said Yasmeen Hoosenally, as her son Indigo, 10, used green and blue markers to happily draw the earth on his protest sign outside City Hall. Hoosenally thanked Thunberg for teaching Indigo and other young children that they can and should fight for what they believe in.

“I would rather that they start learning this stuff early and young because this is their future,” she said. “They are going to have to advocate for themselves their whole lives.”

One Response to Kids call for action on climate change

  1. Great to see these kids standing up for our future. But… "an annual increase of just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit "? Are you kidding? New York City would be under water within a decade at that rate! The UN report calls for a total increase of just 2.7 degrees by 2050! Fact-checking!

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