Worldwide Climate Strike: The Movement Of Our Youth


David Smith Jr.

He is currently an undergraduate Economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His present concentrations of study and research include international trade and political relations, along with their effects on global welfare, economies, and the environment. After pursuing further graduate economics education, he hopes to become a part of the U.S. policy making process through consulting and research.

Each Friday, young people around the world fight to bring the ongoing effort to combat climate change to international attention. Students belonging to the Climate Strike movement commence an eleven-minute protest at 11:11 a.m. every week, marching and demonstrating in places of public governance such as the United Nations Secretariat building or in front of Congress. Climate was initiated by sixteen-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg and has transferred to several school districts worldwide, as Alexandria Villasenor of New York and several others have also taken up its banner. This level of concern shown by such a young demographic should surely prompt questions from our world leaders.

Thunberg sums up the movement’s sentiments in her demands to political leaders, stating “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” This inspiringly audacious young girl recognizes the political apathy towards this issue but continuously condemns those with power for not doing something about it. At a lunch with international elites in Davos, she accused them of making “unimaginable amounts of money” while risking the planet’s future. Likewise, the afore mentioned Alexandria Villasenor echos these thoughts, asserting, “We won’t stop making noise until we get the necessary climate action.”

Indeed, the movement disappointingly faces backlash from its target audience. Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May, believes the demonstrators are simply wasting valuable time of their education. To this criticism, Thunberg quickly countered “That may well be the case. But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 years of inaction. And that is slightly worse.”

For decades, politicians have disregarded the numerous signs forecasting the effects of environmental change. For whatever reason, other domestic issues preoccupy mainstream political agendas instead. Though these issues often necessitate direct attention in their own right, climate change also demands immediate and serious notice now rather than simply being sidetracked. Minor domestic issues will cease to matter if large portions of the earth become uninhabitable, especially in extreme environmental circumstances (i.e. mass migration, health crises, the fair provision of needed agricultural goods, etc.)

Of course, the Green New Deal already exists and has continuously circulated congressional halls in the United States. Other measures of environmental protection such as the Paris Agreement have also been adopted in the past few decades . Unfortunately, these types of measures receive immediate criticism, as opponents label them a hindrance to the extension of global wealth and competition. Environmental policies receive limited support and achieve little success as a result.

Accredited scientific organizations provide significant evidence for the presence of global warming and extreme weather conditions already. These experts, who have dedicated their lives to learning this information, also predict that we have approximately a decade to institute a solution or the repercussions will become unbearable. Yet, through their own arrogant ignorance, some authorities continue convincing themselves and their administrations that climate change is simply a conspiracy theory, an extremely illogical and irresponsible move.

The inability of prominent figures to notice this becomes disappointing and even frustrating. However, promising movements amidst political negligence and global industrialization, such as the Climate Strike, are beginning to provide the pressure needed to stimulate necessary change. Already, “climate candidates” are starting to rise to the forefront of several upcoming elections and could quite possibly influence other leading candidates to adopt some form of that policy to their own agendas.

The Climate Strike unquestionably demonstrates an example of inspirational bravery, selflessness and the appropriate expression of democratic rights. However, this heavy responsibility should surely not be burdened on our young children. This decision may well be the most important in the entirety of human existence and deserves immediate international recognition. Other discussions- immigration, trade deals, peace negotiations- must halt. Without a solution to climate change first, these discussions will have no future purpose.


About David Smith Jr.

He is currently an undergraduate Economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His present concentrations of study and research include international trade and political relations, along with their effects on global welfare, economies, and the environment. After pursuing further graduate economics education, he hopes to become a part of the U.S. policy making process through consulting and research.