By Grace Stevens, age 11
After a long pause because of COVID-19, the youth climate strikes are back, with protests erupting in 750 locations around the world during March. These young activists are protesting for immediate action on the climate crisis.
The protesters are calling on wealthier countries to begin paying climate reparations. “The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty,” Greta Thunberg said to the Guardian in 2019. The activists want wealthier countries to be held accountable for the damage they have caused and to invest in reducing some of the damage the climate crisis has already caused, and make changes that will prevent future damage. But passing out money is only a short-term solution. Wealthier countries could move to invest in different methods of carbon removal like reforestation.
The youth activists are calling on the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population to take action against climate change. This group, a majority of whom live in the United States, is responsible for 15% of all greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere, while the poorest 50% are responsible for only 7%, according to a 2020 report by Oxfam. Despite this, the world’s poorest are the ones who are impacted by the consequences of climate change the most. The protesters want these wealthier countries to invest money in repairing the damage the climate crisis has already caused, and make changes that will prevent future damage.
The war in Ukraine is also encouraging protesters to take to the streets. Much of Russia’s power lies in their access to fossil fuels. With 14% of the world’s gas supply, they are the world’s third-largest gas producer. Countries around the world rely on oil and gas, and the war in Ukraine is highlighting how dependent we all are on fossil fuels. “Reducing reliance on fossil fuels enhances national security for the United States and other countries,” said Rod Schoonover, a climate security expert with the Council on Strategic Risks’ Center for Climate and Security.
“While the climate movement has continued during COVID, we need to reignite hope and strikes to push our leaders to act,” said Liv Schroeder, national co-executive director and policy director at Fridays for Future, in an interview with Inside Climate News. “Young people are angry, and I want fossil fuel executives to be as scared as we are.”