• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Kids Might Save Us

I became involved in climate advocacy when I realized how dramatically my son’s life would be affected by climate change if we don’t do anything.

He was three years old when I started to imagine what his world would be like when he graduates from school, when he gets his first job, when he wants to start a family, and when he’s ready to retire. In different ways, the impacts of climate change will affect all of these moments.

Climate change will disproportionately affect my kid’s generation, and all future generations. And that terrifies me.

I want my little boy to inherit a beautiful, healthy world — not just to grow up in, but also to grow old in. There are a lot of other issues I care about, but if we don’t address climate change, and soon, the rest won’t matter.

At first I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to do with my outrage and my worries. But I was lucky enough to meet like-minded individuals who were already fighting for a healthy planet and a hopeful future for humanity. Together we founded a local climate advocacy group and organized our first annual climate rally in Northern Virginia.

Many if not all climate activists share my motivation: We want to save the planet for our children, and our children’s children, and all future generations. But here’s the thing: The children might just end up saving us all.

Children, teens, and young adults are becoming influential leaders in the climate movement. We might be fighting for them. But they’re fighting for themselves, too.

They aren’t just marching — they’re affecting the political process in many different ways. Just as the March for Our Lives and other youth organizations have become a big deal in the larger gun control movement, youth climate organizations have a huge voice and ambitious reach in the climate movement as a whole.

For 13 years, YOUNGO, an international network of youth organizations, has had an official voice at U.N. climate conferences and hosted an annual “Conference of Youth.”

The Sunrise Movement, the primary activist group leading the call for a Green New Deal, was founded by 20-somethings seeking to organize young people all over the country.

Co-founder Varshini Prakash sums up their determination and optimism: “My nightmares are full of starving children and land that is too sick to bear food,” she said. “But my dreams are also full of a rising tide of people who see the world for what it is, people who see the greed and selfishness of wealthy men, of fossil-fuel billionaires who plunder our earth for profit.”

Zero Hour, a group that organized the Youth Climate March in D.C. and sister marches around the country last July, is led by teenagers. It was founded by Jamie Margolin when she was just 16. Now 17, she’s one of the most influential climate activists in the country.

These young people aren’t just taking to the streets, but they’re also taking on the legal system.

In Juliana v. United States, youth plaintiffs aged 11 to 20 are suing the U.S. government for failing to protect public resources — that is, the planet we all share — and therefore violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This lawsuit has inspired similar legal action at the state level, in all 50 states.

When my son is a teenager, I hope that he’s as politically and socially engaged as these young activists. I can’t think of better role models for him. I want my kid to care desperately about his future, to speak up loudly and frequently, to act deliberately, to work hard, and to create a better reality.

I look forward to working alongside him.

More articles by:

Norah Vawter is a freelance writer living in Northern Virginia.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail