Protestors took to the streets near Los Angeles City Hall Friday to call for the declaration of a climate emergency. This is the fourth year of the Youth Climate Strike in the U.S., where protestors aim to put pressure on politicians to enact progressive climate policies.
Specifically, Youth Climate Strike L.A. is hoping to get the American government to end oil drilling, plant more trees, make green schools, improve public transport and build affordable, climate-friendly housing according to a public document released by the organization.
“I think, right now, people are starting to pay more attention to youth climate activists especially. So we need to make sure that the momentum keeps going,” said Valerie Kuo, a third-year USC student and co-executive director of the Environmental Student Assembly at USC.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), last summer was the hottest recorded since records began in 1880. Previous scientific predictions are proving accurate as sea ice continues to melt, sea levels continue to rise, and heat waves are becoming longer and more intense according to NASA.
“We need to be active and fight back because we can’t wait. We can’t wait another five years, another four years, people are suffering right now,” said Sim Bilal, the lead organizer for the Youth Climate Strike. “We need solutions right now.”
One of the other organizers of today’s protest, Shekinah Deocares, said these protests should have started long ago.
“50 years before this was an important time to do this. 20 years, ten years, five years, three years before it was an important time to do this… now we’re calling on not just elected officials, but on people power to fight against corporations and to end this now,” said Deocares.
When asked why he came to the protest, 17-year-old Simon Aron said, “I’m here because the climate crisis is affecting me. Ever since I was a little kid. Climate change burned my summer camp down.”
The Youth Climate Strike movement began in 2019 because then 13-year-old Haven Coleman was inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s weekly strikes from school to stand against climate change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the changes that have already occurred in our climate will take hundreds to thousands of years to undo.
Youth Strike L.A. is holding another protest at L.A. City Hall on Friday, September 23 at 12 p.m.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misquoted Valerie Kuo’s name as ‘Mallory.’ Annenberg Media strives for utmost accuracy and transparency in all of our reporting - we apologize for this error.