“They failed us, so we’re stepping up”: A conversation with the nation’s youth climate activists

BY: Nina Joung

Credit: Power Shift Network

When did climate change activism become something you associated with young people?

Was it when 21 youth plaintiffs from the ages of 11 to 22 filed a lawsuit against the government for failing to protect its youngest constituents? Or maybe it was the exchange between Senator Dianne Feinstein and various youth climate organizations including the Sunrise Movement that went viral. Now, the hashtag #Fridays4Future is growing across the world after its young founder and now Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg inspired an international march of youth climate advocates happening on March 15, 2019.

Whatever the event, it’s now impossible to talk about climate action without discussing young people’s role in it.

That’s why Peril & Promise and Twin Cities PBS’s Rewire hosted a Twitter Chat among the youth organizations that are on the front lines of the fight such as the Power Shift Network, Youth v. Gov (the young people behind the Juliana vs. United States lawsuit) and the Sunrise Movement, as well as reputable climate communicators from the  Huffington Post, George Mason Center For Climate Change Communication and Rewire who are documenting the growth of this movement.

Here are our favorite tweets from our #YouthClimateChat:

What is the gap in climate action that spurred this movement by young people? Youth climate activist organization Sunrise Movement and Huff Post climate reporter Alexander Kaufman respond:

When asked whether they’ve been underestimated because of their age, Sunrise Movement and Power Shift Network are too familiar with the consequences of trivializing youth-led climate action:

Some good news about climate change opinion from the George Mason Center for Climate Communication:

Twenty two year old youth plaintiff Alex Loznak explains his personal connection and the legal argument behind the Juliana vs. US lawsuit:

Thank you to all the organizations and individuals who joined in on the conversation!

We’re excited to continue documenting the youth-led climate change activism movement as well as share some of the work of youth activists and climate communicators who are reporting on these issues. Let’s keep the conversation going!