Environmental Youth Activist Anna Taylor

Students around the world are striking as they demand action and progress on climate change. Christiane Amanpour sits down with student activist leading the charge in the UK, Anna Taylor.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: As a 17-year-old, what have you been feeling, thinking as you look at what the politicians are doing or not doing, your parents’ or grandparents’ generation?

ANNA TAYLOR: So, far, I felt let down, I felt betrayed by the government, past governments and the present government. I feel like they haven’t recognized the severity of the crisis enough. And I think a lot of young people my age are starting to get angry about that. We don’t want to cause disruption, we don’t want to just walk out of school because we’re paying too and we feel like this is the only way to make our voices heard and I would really like to see a future where the government do you listen to us.

AMANPOUR: What are your immediate demands? Are there any? Do you have a platform? Are you going to Parliament to ask for a list of things or is it just to show presence?

TAYLOR: Yes. We’ve created four demands. So, the first one is for the government to declare a state of climate emergency and take active steps towards achieving climate justice. The second one is to reform the national curriculum, so that’s to accurately portray the severity of the crisis. The third one is to honestly communicate to the general public the severity of the crisis. And the fourth one is to incorporate youth views into policy making and bring the voting age down to 16.

AMANPOUR: And 16 because?

TAYLOR: 16 because we feel like by the age of 16, we are able to make an informed decision. And at the moment, I think 18 is too old considering that this is our future. And the reason we’re having to strike is because we have no other way of expressing our opinions.

AMANPOUR: So, you talked about how it needs to be taught truthfully in school and in the public domain. Where does that come from? In other words, how have you sort of noticed the debate so far?

TAYLOR: I’m an A-level (INAUDIBLE) student. So, I’ve noticed in my textbook that the limited amount of text on climate change is completely minimized compared to the severity of the crisis as expressed in the IPCC reports and other reports.

AMANPOUR: Those are the U.N. reports?

TAYLOR: Yes, the U.N. reports. And also talking to students in Germany and Scandinavia, I’ve noticed that their education systems are very different to us and they’re much more aware in those countries. Where as in the U.K. there seems to be a lack of awareness and a lack of communication on behalf of the government.

AMANPOUR: And we and when you see the United States of America, President Trump wants to pull out or the U.S. out of the climate deal, you know that there are deniers around there and around the world, in fact. As a kid, an adolescent, how does that make you feel?

TAYLOR: It makes me feel frustrated, and I would say hopeless. But I think the point about the Fridays for future movement and school strikes is that it counteracts those feelings of hopelessness. What’s going on right now is giving me hope. And seeing the way the leaders deny climate change at the moment definitely makes me feel very disappointed.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks about climate change with Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington; Anna Taylor, an environmental youth activist; and James Balog, an environmental photographer. Michel Martin speaks with Tarell Alvin McCraney & Andre Holland, the screenwriter and executive producer of “High Flying Bird.”