SALT LAKE CITY, USA — A youth-led climate activist group called Fridays for Future is demonstrating their commitment to climate activism by striking at the State Capitol building every Friday with “no exceptions.”
(03/05/2021) Members of the organization take part in a school strike every Friday to sit at the Utah State Capitol building to protest for climate action.
#FridaysForFuture is a movement that began in August 2018, after 15-year-old Greta Thunberg and other young activists sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. After posting to Instagram and Twitter, it soon went viral, sparking similar groups to spark up in the United States
The group’s founder Raquel Juarez, a senior in high school at the time, discovered the work of Greta Thunberg and she eagerly joined the fight and started striking, only to find that no one else was there.
Pictured above: Juarez's first strike back in March 2018.
“I had always wanted to hold up a sign asking people to wake up on this issue, but could not figure out how to do it,” she told Rose Lens Media. Despite being the only person striking and receiving hate from strangers yelling at her to ‘get a job’ or that climate change is a hoax, she remained optimistic.
“When at least one youth is committed it allows people to feel that they will not be alone in the strike. For some, trying to get involved can feel like a large burden, especially when no one is already there it can make them feel things along the lines of ‘am I even making a difference’?"
Now, Melanie and Natalie, two 13 year olds, are skipping school for the climate crisis who have started taking that challenge up again after Juarez has been unable to attend.
Vaughn Lovejoy, who has been a part of environmental activism for over 40 years, is hopeful that the new youth-led mobilization to fight against the climate crisis, in part fueled by Greta Thunberg and her followers, will inspire change in our world. “There’s a lot of power in the youth movement. We’re handing [the youth] a mess," says LoveJoy. But after the events of 2020, it’s not going to be easy. He went on to say that the organization is “trying to regroup
after COVID”, with the hope that the larger numbers will bring a greater impact.
Juarez added: “This strike is allowing kids and teens to learn how to organize so we will know how to get bigger and improve throughout the rest of our lives of our environmental activism.”
"We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to come up with solutions. We have to be the solution, we have to act now."
In keeping up with that spirit of demonstrating, the group is organizing a protest on March 19th, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting at Washington Square in Salt Lake City and marching to the State Capitol building, where they hope to persuade elected officials to take action in order to save our planet.
The Instagram post revealing the plans for the protest argues “the climate crisis continues to progress and so will the effects. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to come up with solutions. We have to be the solution, we have to act now. We have to demand climate action.” They continue by saying anyone who believes in climate change and wants to protest for meaningful change is welcome to attend.
We need to have a large showing at these events to show both our local and national representatives that grassroots, youth-led organizations are a force to be reckoned with. We will not let establishment politicians continue to simply sit back and shrug off the responsibility of the impending crisis - if we don’t act now, it will be too late for us all.