The world is facing a crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the world is facing another crisis – a climate and ecological emergency.
We must treat every crisis like a crisis. If we do not take urgent action on climate change, just as much as we are for COVID-19, then we will be forced to bear the consequences of both on a more disastrous level. Climate change contributes to pandemics just like COVID-19 and if we do not address it, life-threatening infectious diseases will occur more often and be much worse. Many of us know first-hand the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and of climate change, but as the climate deteriorates, we are only getting a small taste of what’s to come. So, we must act now for climate justice.
“We must treat every crisis like a crisis.”
CONTINUING MOMENTUM DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
The youth climate movement has rapidly grown across the world and is mobilising unprecedented numbers of young people to stand up for urgent climate action. This includes myself, a 20-year-old climate activist and striker in the UK Student Climate Network and Fridays for Future International, youth-led groups advocating for climate justice. In accordance with the science, health experts and public authorities who advise against mass gatherings, many of us can no longer use our traditional tactics, like striking on the streets.
These are frightening times, but there is hope. Despite what seems like an impossible task to sustain momentum through an outbreak, we are still creating new ways to campaign. We are moving our activism from the streets to online. We are not powerless. Right now, we still have the power to continue placing pressure on leaders, spreading awareness, engaging with new audiences, and strengthening connections.
“These are frightening times, but there is hope. ”
ACTIVISM FROM THE STREETS TO ONLINE
It is important to remember that we are not alone, and staying connected is crucial for the movement. Fridays for Future is organising various actions and campaigns to make sure our presence is still felt. We are taking our weekly strikes online by posting a picture with our strike signs using the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline, and spreading this through our social media channels.
There are also new campaigns building online media storms. These include sending messages to government officials, on all their digital platforms, demanding that our climate is not neglected.
We the Planet is also a new online and global youth-led campaign for Earth Day on April 22. We are leveraging this international day to mobilize people from across the world for climate justice. Activists, influencers, and organisations are joining to make pledges for the planet and highlighting the diverse voices of youth all across the world.
To continue climate education and awareness during this pandemic, in Fridays for Future we are hosting weekly ‘Talks for Future’ webinars with activists, scientists, journalists and other high-level experts. It streams weekly on our Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
We have power uniting together, even digitally. Despite being physically isolated from one another, I have not felt alone. Online actions and organizing keep us connected, in solidarity with one another and ensure that we keep the momentum going.
“We have power uniting together, even digitally.”
SYSTEMIC CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
The rapid response to COVID-19 shows that swift systemic change is possible, but to end this and prevent other pandemics from surfacing, we must also take large-scale action on climate change. Now is the opportunity to build a just transition to a zero-carbon economy and adopt economic reforms such as the Green New Deal. As climate activists we must continue standing together during these difficult times and advocate to protect our planet and our lives.
“As climate activists we must continue standing together during these difficult times and advocate to protect our planet and our lives.”