Global Climate Strikes: How To Support Youth Activists & Get Involved
Tens of thousands of young people around the world are expected to walk out of their classrooms on Friday and into the streets for a Global Climate Strike. With Fridays for Future marches and rallies planned in more than 150 countries, Friday's youth-led call for climate change action will no doubt be an international movement. But with so many children and young adults intent on sparking environmental reform, you may be wondering how you can support youth activists in the Global Climate Strikes and get involved in climate advocacy efforts yourself.
Young climate activists frightened about the impact climate change will have on their futures and frustrated by what they feel to be adults' lack of action to combat the issue, have organized an international strike in an effort to push policymakers into action. This time, however, they've invited everyone to join them, even adults.
In response, folks everywhere are stepping up to show their support for the Global Climate Strikes. For example, more than 700 health and medical professionals have signed a "doctor's note" excusing striking students from class. A coalition of tech workers from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, to name only a few, have vowed to join their local Global Climate Strikes in solidarity. What's more, there are a number of ways you can show your support between then and now.
Here's how to support youth climate activists and get involved in the Global Climate Strike yourself:
Attend A Rally
One of the best ways to support the young climate activists demanding leaders and policymakers take immediate action to end climate change is to simply show up to one of the events they've organized. According to the global climate strikes website, strikes are scheduled to happen in more than 150 countries around the world, meaning there's likely something happening near you.
Unsure of where to go? Peep the Fridays for Future map to see where, and when, events are kicking off near you. The map currently lists more than 900 events happening in the United States alone.
Reach Out To Your Congressional Leaders
Help amplify the voices of young climate activists by reaching out to your congressional leaders and demanding they take action on climate change. While tweeting and emailing are easy, former congressional staffers have said that phone calls remain one of the best ways to nab the attention of your congressional leaders.
You can easily find your representative's phone number on their official website and, if you're not sure who your rep is, you can quickly look them up with this online tool. To look up your senator's contact info, simply drop your state into the online Senate directory list. Then, all that's left if to pick up the phone and dial!
Spread The Word
Another easy way to support young climate activists is to simply help spread their message. Consider sharing the op-ed 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth activists recently wrote for The Guardian. Then continue to talk about climate change and the importance of unified, worldwide action with your friends and family.
You can also help young activists get their message out by sharing their digital #ClimateStrike graphics or adding a #ClimateStrike profile pic overlay to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Those who run their own website (or can convince your company to join the digital climate strike), may also consider joining activists' digital climate strike by either placing a #ClimateStrike banner on their page or "going green" with a full-scale online strike. Visit the climate strike website to obtain social media #climatestrike graphics and learn more about how you can use your own website to spread activists' climate message.
Listen To Their Concerns
Listening is another important way adults can be an ally to young climate activists as it's clear that many feel they're not being heard. "During the French revolution mothers flooded the streets for their children," Thunberg and dozens of other climate activists wrote in their Guardian op-ed. "Today we children are fighting for ourselves, but so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or what happened in the Game of Thrones finale – while the planet burns."
But don't keep the conversation focused strictly on fears and concerns. In a segment with TODAY, board-certified psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center Dr. Sudeepta Varma recommended acknowledging any concerns and then collaborating on potential action steps you can take to fight climate change together.
Inspire Others To Get Involved
Finally, inspire other adults to get involved in the fight to demand action on climate change. Bring a friend or two (or three!) to whatever Global Climate Strike you attend. Approach your workplace and any community groups you belong to about publicly supporting the climate strikes young activists have organized. Share the Climate Resistance Handbook with any budding young activists in your life.
The activists behind Friday's Global Climate Strike, which VOX has reported will fall just before a United Nations emergency climate summit, are hoping their efforts kick off an international sustained action toward demanding climate action. To encourage weekly mobilization, a second Global Climate Strike is already planned for September 27. Will you be there?