02:29 - Source: CNN
Scientists agree: Climate change is man-made

Editor’s Note: Katie Eder, 19, is the co-founder and executive director of Future Coalition, a national network of youth-led organizations and youth organizers. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. View more opinion articles on CNN.

CNN —  

Climate change is the five-alarm fire that America’s political leaders pretend not to see. They control the hoses and they can turn on the water, but so far, the most powerful people in our country are doing little to address an increasingly grim future.

Katie Eder
courtesy of Katie Eder
Katie Eder

We, the young people organizing and participating in a global strike this Friday, will not sit around and allow ignorance and inertia to win. Global warming is raising temperatures worldwide in a more dramatic way than we’ve seen at any time in the past 2,000 years, according to a recent study published in Nature. While scientists at the United Nations say we may have a little over a decade to slow down the global rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, others say we have far less time before we’ll see devastating consequences. These will include a loss of fresh water for millions of people whose aquifers depend on rapidly melting glaciers, a collapse in fish population, and rising seas that will displace huge numbers of people, according to reporting from the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), which obtained a draft of a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Young people know that their futures are at risk.

For the past year, the youth climate movement has been quietly growing in coffee shops in midwestern suburbs, libraries in urban centers, and classrooms in the rural south. Young people are preparing for a revolution to save our future, and on Friday, September 20, we invite you to join us.

On that day, three days before the UN Climate Summit in New York, young people and adults all over the world will strike to demand that our leaders take transformative action to address the climate crisis; the strike includes some 500 events in the US alone. Across the globe, a coalition of hundreds of groups have been working over the last few months in hopes of making September 20 the largest climate mobilization in world history — and to create momentum that will launch us into a new era of climate action to save our futures.

We have no time to waste.

The climate crisis is the largest threat we’ve faced as a country, and as a global society. This is an existential threat to our species — and people aren’t freaking out about it enough. The facts are so daunting and discouraging, they can often paralyze people from taking any action. But we don’t have the luxury of paralysis.

The only way to fix this crisis is through a social movement on a scale that we’ve never seen before, because we have the one thing that is stronger than fear on our side: we have hope. Hope that propels us into action is what can save us.

The solutions are out there, but we need our leaders to find the political will to enact them. We need to demand that our politicians create change. If they don’t, we need to be prepared to change our politicians. We need the courage to make demands in the streets, and to exercise our civic duty in the voting booth. Our generation, the youth of America, must vote in record numbers in November 2020. We can’t afford not to.

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  • On Friday, we’re striking for a Green New Deal; for the immediate cessation of fossil-fuel projects on sovereign indigenous land; for environmental justice; for the protection and restoration of nature; and for sustainable agriculture. We’re striking for ourselves, for our friends and family, for the kid who lives down the street from us. We’re striking because it’s what we have to do.

    Any big change that’s been made throughout history was once said to be impossible. If you want a future for yourself, for your kids and for your grandkids, you need to act now. It’s time to panic, and it’s time to fight. Please join us. Strike with us on September 20, and join the climate revolution to save our world.