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Youth Voices, Unfiltered


Scroll through to see young people's take on the global climate emergency, and the work that they are doing to fight against climate change.
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2020’s: The Decade of Climate Action By Lorena Sosa

2020’s: The Decade of Climate Action

By Lorena Sosa

The ‘Roaring twenties were known as a time during which an exuberantly colorful culture thrived. City streets were bustling with vibrant jazz music, women had recently secured the right to vote through the 19th amendment, and the American dream seemed even closer ough the expansion of the automobile industry. The spirit of freedom was seen loud and proud all across America. A hundred years later, and the definition of freedom continues to be redefined. However, in the modern day, a new type of “roar” has begun to dominate city streets. Now that the ‘20s have returned, youth activists are titling this decade to be the time to bring attention to an intersectional issue: climate change.

Activists emphasize that this is the final opportunity world leaders have to address climate change and counter what the UN has warned to be “irreversible damage.” When constituents pressure leaders to take action on climate change, change can become possible. The revival of the United States’ environmental movement proves that youth have catalyzed such changes: when youth unite to corroborate for climate change, ideas regarding climate striking start to shift. During the September 20th global strike hosted in New York City, 1.1 million students were excused from school to strike for their future, displaying that concerns for climate action have extended far beyond school grounds. If youth are taking action on climate change at a grassroots level, our leaders should be responding by making systematic changes. Americans have become more concerned now, than ever, about climate change, how can youth rally the nation up to ensure that citizens understand the significance of the issue to pressure politicians about it?

This question has led young climate activists who are unable to vote to pressure citizens to not only vote, but vote with the consideration of the youth’s future, as voting during the election period sets up a clear precedent for what accomplishments can be expected from an elected official.

Climate activists want to see the US sign on to agreements that place the protection of the planet as a priority. Climate change is an all-encompassing, intersectional issue that will affect everyone. Natural disasters brought by climate change have already forced climate refugees, individuals severely affected by natural disasters, to leave their homes. Whole towns, from Alaska to Louisiana, affected by disasters like severe flooding and blazing heat have even begun to relocate to safer grounds to avoid encountering further damage.

We are already feeling the repercussions of climate change. Because the US consistently dominates news headlines and shapes global economic patterns more than any other nation, it must take the opportunity to initiate climate commitments. The upcoming 2020 election will serve as a standard for other carbon-producing countries to decide how serious climate action will be taken.

If you have the privilege to vote, vote with the hopes for a future in the back of your mind.


About the author

Lorena Sosa is a 17-year-old highschooler working to bring climate initiatives to Orlando. Through Zero Hour’s Orlando chapter, she is highlighting the value of renewable energy and emphasizing the value of action at a community level to combat climate change.

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Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth supports all young people and their diversity in exercising their right to freedom of expression. Reach Not Preach platform serves as a safe space for all young people to share their take on the topic of climate change. The views expressed in the Reach Not Preach platform are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and the United Nations.

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