Youth Led Movement

“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care, you have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Greta Thunberg at COP24

As I wrote yesterday, Global Climate Strikes are planned this Friday, Sept. 20, to walk out of schools, to leave work, all over the world. There is one thing I think it is important for those of us who are no longer youth to keep in mind. This is emphatically a youth led movement. As said in several different ways here, we can support youth’s efforts, but attempts to provide leadership are not welcome. This was an adjustment for me, having helped organize and lead a number of justice efforts over the years. I hope you who are no longer young will keep reminding yourselves of this. The following Young At Heart Guidelines from the Sunrise Movement express this very well. It would be helpful if you read the complete document here: YoungAtHeart Guidelines

Sunrise’s decision to be youth-led and youth-centered is both a strategic and cultural one. In the climate crisis, young people face an unfortunate reality: every one of us will see the devastating effects of climate change in our lifetime. We have inherited a crisis that we did not create— and there is a story to tell about a new generation of Americans who are standing up to protect their future. Throughout history, we have seen that youth voices hold a unique moral clarity, and the climate crisis is no
exception. Choosing to focus on young people is a key part of our strategy to reach millions.

Sunrise is also filling a cultural gap for young people in the movement. Young people today have grown up knowing that the stable climate that human civilization has depended on for millennia could crumble within our lifetimes. Yet, we’ve seen political leaders continue to fail us, often laughing us off or calling us young and naive. That’s been deeply discouraging for many of us. In our society, there aren’t many spaces that trust and uplift the leadership of young people. Young people were searching for a space that would not only allow them to organize but would also give them the community they were searching for. Our youth-centered focus makes sure that we are building a community and an
identity— vital ingredients to keep a movement together.

We need the support of all of you— it just comes in a slightly different form. We love the enthusiasm you’ve shown and appreciate the organizing that you’ve already done to help get us to this point! The #YoungAtHeart document (link below) will provide key principles on how to be an ally with Sunrise, suggestions of how to uplift youth leadership, and roles to be taken on. We’re also in the process of putting together a #YoungAtHeart caucus for Sunrise members that are older than ~35 and have set up a #youngatheart slack channel for our adult/elder allies to connect, coordinate and form a community.

YoungAtHeart Guidelines

Our Mission

We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation —especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities— are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time.

Climate crisis and a betrayed generation

We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. Humanity is currently causing the sixth mass extinction of species and the global climate system is at the brink of a catastrophic crisis. Its devastating impacts are already felt by millions of people around the globe. Yet we are far from reaching the goals of the Paris agreement.

Young people make up more than half of the global population. Our generation grew up with the climate crisis and we will have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. Despite that fact, most of us are not included in the local and global decision-making process. We are the voiceless future of humanity.

We will no longer accept this injustice. We demand justice for all past, current and future victims of the climate crisis, and so we are rising up. Thousands of us have taken to the streets in the past weeks all around the world. Now we will make our voices heard. On 15 March, we will protest on every continent.

We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world’s decision-makers’ inaction that threatens our entire civilisation. We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes. Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness.

We, the young, have started to move. We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not. United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis.

You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.

Letter from Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Young Friends

We spoke about many of our concerns with the modern world. The two that we kept returning to throughout the discussion was polarization in our society, and our clear concern on the changing climate and how it will affect our lives. We see the polarization in our society furthering a pattern of not listening to one another and encouraging a culture of hatred. We noted that by listening, we can often understand the struggles behind an opinion with which we disagree. We are also very concerned with the changing climate, and the displacement of people and wildlife that comes consequently. We recognize that a lot of the issues we care about are related to the environment, and that there will be an increase in poverty and war worldwide if we don’t actively try and reverse climate change.

from Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Young Friends’ Giving Voice Epistle

Iowa Climate Strike

Iowa Climate Strike is part of a global movement, that is organized by youth, for the purpose of bringing attention to climate change and the urgent need to make changes in how we live in order to protect the environment we depend on.

Join people from across the world, and strike for our climate!! September 20th we’ll strike again, so mark your calendars!! We’ll start at the Iowa State Capitol, and have lots of wonderful environmental organizations tabling, we’ll listen to inspirational speeches and climate stories. After that we’ll march to Cindy Axne’s office and demand that she signs on to the Green New Deal. We need your help to make change!!

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