Youth Climate Strikes taking over cities Friday

Climate Strike
Posted at 7:46 PM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 01:08:40-04

Friday, September 20, students across the globe will march through their hometowns or walk out of their schools.

These children are uniting for the Climate Strike. It is a worldwide event meant to get the attention of world leaders ahead of the United Nation's Emergency Climate Summit on Monday, September 23.

So far, this plan has worked. Already, businesses are promising to close their stores and stand with the movement Friday.

That includes companies like Ben & Jerry's, Lush, and Patagonia. Today, Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos also said he was ready to make his company "green."

He has pledged to power Amazon 100% with renewable energy by 2030. That will include the addition of 100,000 electric delivery vans.

This movement has grown rapidly and students in the Valley are taking up the torch. AZ Youth Climate Strike has its own march and rally planned for Friday.

ABC15's Chief Meteorologist Amber Sullins spoke with three of the organization's leaders about what the movement means to them and their plans for the future.

18-year-old Brian Mecinas, 16-year old Aditi Narayanan, and 15-year old Nikita Bharati are leaders of the AZ Youth Climate Strike organization. They are working with other organizations and state lawmakers to push through legislation that would curb emissions in the state.

"This is not a partisan issue," Mecinas said. "It's a non-partisan issue. It's not a game that can be played, something that can be kind of thrown around and tossed as just a word for political gain. It's out lives and the future lives of generations to come."

Most of their work is about raising awareness about how climate change impacts everyone. "Climate change is about how much hotter the summers are getting. It's about the lack of water in our communities," says Narayanan.

All of this is extremely personal to these teens who see the impacts of climate change on their families living in other parts of the world.

Bharati's family is from India. She said she visits and sees how climate change is impacting the poor and children more than others.

Mecinas has family in a small town in Mexico. He explained that the town has a legend that it will be washed away by heavy rains. It is a story he said he believes connects directly to his work to combat climate change.

"I think that's something making my parents make those connections between something I'm fighting... in the United States... to an issue that will affect their family in Mexico."

These are the changes that Mecinas said have to stop. He believes world leaders need to get involved and do more.

"Doing your best is no longer good enough for us. You need to be doing the seemingly impossible to solve this crisis."

Bharati adding, "people our age... high school students... middle school students. We have a voice, too."

But, what about the people who tell them there's nothing one person can do and this is fate? The teens have a response to them.

Brian responded, "Whatever spiritual thing they may choose to worship or respect in their cultures and religions... these beings will always pose challenges you're meant to overcome, not to be complacent, but fight. You're supposed to fight back, come out the other side better and stronger."

The AZ Youth Climate Strike begins at 2:00 p.m. Friday with a march from the Maricopa County Courthouse to the State Capitol. There they will hold a rally starting at 4:00 p.m.

Go to their Facebook page for more information.