Youth and Climate Justice

Published on March 26th, 2019 | by GrowWNYAdmin

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Buffalo Students Join the Youth Climate Strike

Taking Direct Action for Our Future

I am striking because my future is in jeopardy,” said 14 year old Ilyas Khan, when asked why he began organizing the Buffalo Youth Climate Strike. If you happened to pass by Buffalo’s City Hall on Friday March 15, you heard and saw some 40 students from throughout Western New York standing in solidarity with an estimated 1.4 million for the International Youth Climate Strike. Young folks from the United States joined the Youth Climate Strike movement this March, along with 120+ countries around the world calling on local leaders to take real action on climate change.

“Politicians have supported the destruction of the environment to line their pockets, and in eleven years, that reckless abuse of nature will have a direct impact on my generation,” said Khan, a WNY Environmental Alliance Youth & Climate Justice Fellow who led the event. His response refers to the October 2017 report released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommending that policymakers take action to drastically reduce greenhouse gases emissions to keep global atmospheric warming below 1.5 Celsius. Why 1.5 C?  To avoid irreversible damage from climate change, evidence of which can be seen today in the form of increased extreme weather, sea level rise, diminishing arctic sea ice, and disproportionate negative impacts on poor and marginalized populations.

Fueled by 16-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, and her weekly Friday “school strikes for climate” beginning last November, strikes have happened in over 270 cities worldwide and growing. Here in Buffalo, Khan and a team of student activists ages 8-17, organized the walkout to highlight the urgency needed to address climate change from our local elected officials and governments worldwide.  Dozens of brave students came out despite the unforgiving winds to stand in front of City Hall and make sure their message was loud and clear – WE NEED CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! Letters were also delivered to the City of Buffalo’s Mayor and Common Council members to inform them of why they are taking action and to ask for “immediate and committed steps to shift energy systems… a just transition to a way of living that supports all life.”

“March 15th is both a beginning and an end. An answer to the appalling damage that we have inflicted upon our earth—and a beginning to treating the environment the way each and every one of us wants to be treated,” said eleven year old youth leader, Ariel Braverman. Braverman and Khan have both vowed to continue striking downtown with other students every Friday – #BuffaloClimateStrike – until there is real action. They are calling for all of us to stand and face the climate crisis – will you rise with them?

Check out some press coverage of the event in Buffalo and worldwide:

WGRZ

WBFO

WKBW

Buffalo News: Another Voice

CBS News

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