By Luca Cantagallo, age 13 and IndyKids staff
Hundreds of youths skipped school for another Youth Climate Strike on March 3, 2023, to protest against climate change. As the group grew, the chants of “People over profit!” rang through the air. This annual event originated with Greta Thunburg’s 2018 Fridays for Future (FFF) protest that started the Youth Climate Strike movement.
The Youth Climate Strikers, led by FFF, made urgent demands. They pushed for the United States to vote “yes” in the United Nations General Assembly to request an advisory opinion (AO) on climate justice from the International Court of Justice. An AO would help to establish legal frameworks in relation to the impacts of climate change on human rights to things like food and water, which are already compromised in some countries due to the climate crisis.
They also demanded that New York state legislators must support, fund and pass the Climate Jobs and Justice Package (CJJP) created by NY Renews. Currently, the state of New York creates just 4-6% of its energy from wind and solar; however, the CJJP would work to decarbonize New York and create more green jobs within the state. “We need to make sure we are fighting for climate justice and jobs, because there are too many fossil fuel jobs,” explained Aderinsola Babawale, an organizer and speaker with FFF. “Fighting for climate jobs would help the next generation to understand that even though the problem is there, we are also solution-oriented.”
While running for president in 2018, Biden promised, “No more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period.” Despite this, on March 13, the Biden administration approved the Willow project, an oil and gas drilling venture in Alaska. Environmental groups have condemned this action, as it interferes with the demand to protect and restore biodiversity. The drilling will occur in an area that is home to several endangered species and will have significant impacts on the local ecosystem.
It is important for individuals and governments to prioritize climate action and work toward fulfilling the demands of climate activists. The decision to approve the Willow project is a setback, making it even more crucial to continue to advocate for environmental protection and restoration.