Long before you can vote (which may be the most important thing you will ever do – at every opportunity, locally and nationally) you can get involved politically.
Young people are driving political action at an unprecedented level. We’ve made history. We’re organizing on local and global scales and have transformed the climate fight.
In 2015, before Greta Thunberg broke into our consciousness as a fifteen year old fighting climate change, 21 young people filed a lawsuit against the federal government for threatening their “fundamental constitutional rights to freedom from deprivation of life, liberty, and property.” The suit is ongoing and the majority of the children are now old enough to vote.
On December 15, 2018, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, then 15 years old, addressed world leaders at the UN conference on climate change. Writer and activist Naomi Klein praised Thunberg for her moral clarity and for galvanizing young people, who found a sense of agency in her #FridaysforFuture strikes. Her school strikes became a worldwide phenomenon with more than 7.6 million people joining the global climate strike on September 20, 2019.
A year before Greta started striking, Seattle 15-year old Jamie Margolin co-founded the protest group Zero Hour. She’s lobbied state lawmakers and is part of a group of youths suing Washington state over greenhouse-gas emissions. On September 18, 2019, Jamie testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee alongside Greta Thunberg.
In 2019, 17-year-old Irsa Hirsi co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike Coalition. This alliance of eight US-based youth-led climate groups came together, mobilized Future Coalition, and planned the US marches of 2019. The daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, she is driven by her identity as a Black Muslim woman and has been a longtime advocate for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement. Her experiences have taught her why it’s so important that those disproportionately affected by climate change are at the forefront of the issue, and why the climate movement needs more people like her.