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Youth Climate Protests Around The World
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Youth Climate Protests Around The World

Cutting Class For The Environment?

September, 20th 2019 marked the day school kids from around the world cut class to voice their discontent with the current state of environmental protections relating to climate change caused by carbon emissions. These protests are ahead of United Nations meetings that will aim to address the very same concerns.

Live on the ground at the protests in NYC – the atmosphere was definitely youthful and vibrant. As you approached the epicenter of the marches you heard Bob Marley and wailers blaring from the speakers. Definitely a pleasant introduction to activism for millions of youth.

 

Youth Climate Protests in NYC were thousands of school kids left class to protest for environmental protection ahead of UN meetings. Photo by John Alvarez

 

But will it result in any constructive progress? Hard to say. The marches were certainly an indication of public concern for climate change and growing pollution. Even if much of public these issues will affect most heavily are not eligible to vote yet.

Moreover, the strategies for how to address these issues are still a bit unclear. Non-for-profit organizations, like 350.org, are pushing for a complete ban of fossil fuel consumption and a transition towards  electric grids completely run on renewable technologies. The ideas put forward to achieve this seem to be more regulations or increased taxes. And completely disregard the fact the solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal are exactly perfect solutions at scale in parts of the world. Well, at least not yet.

 

Youth Climate Protests in NYC were thousands of school kids left class to protest for environmental protection ahead of UN meetings. Photo by John Alvarez

 

When we look at the US as a microcosm of what is going on around the world in relation to climate policy. We see many in the US are calling for America to buy back into the Paris Climate agreements set out back in 2016, as a logical first step. These agreements were a historic treaty that acknowledged human caused climate change by UN nations and sought to transition our energy industries.

But it doesn’t look like the US and conservative administrations around the world are looking to re-enforce their commitment to these agreements any time soon.

We are presented a clash between the old guard and the new guard. Coal and oil titans figuring out how to preserve their companies and revenue streams in light of new technologies that promise cleaner lifestyles.

 

In Mexico City, students strike at the Iberoamerican University to raise awareness of the climate crisis, its causes, consequences and the urgency of undertaking individual and collective action. Photo by Diego Rodriguez Garcia | Survival Media Agency

 

All this leads to a very fuzzing environmental picture moving forward. Those in favor of stronger environmental protections want to ban carbon emissions, but offer few ideas outside of regulations and taxation to achieve these means. And those opposed are furiously fight scientific evidence to downplay the effects of human caused climate change.

It’s certainly an uncertain picture for our environment moving forward. There has to be some common ground and I think we are all standing on it.

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