Teenagers are taking a stand and marching for climate action. This Is Zero Hour.
We are all privileged to live in this beautiful planet called Earth; however everything that the current generation takes for granted is under threat. That’s why teenagers all around the world are taking a stand and marching for climate action and environmental justice in a newly-founded movement called This Is Zero Hour. My name is Oscar; I am 15 and am one of the youth organisers for the London March. On July 21st in cities all over the world we will march for our rights to an unspoiled Earth. The London march is one of over 40 sister marches happening around the world on July 21st after the Zero Hour movement was founded by 16 year old Jamie Margolin in America last year. She had seen the impact that accelerated climate change is just beginning to have on communities in America and all around the world, and decided to take matters into her own hands and do something about it. Each Zero Hour march is entirely organised and run by teenagers or uni students, with a few adult mentors give advice. In a world ruled by adults who don’t seem to care enough to take meaningful action against environmental issues we want to show them that we as the next generation do. Although we want the march to be youth-focused and want a large youth presence, we are encouraging everyone of every age to march with us. The This Is Zero Hour March London is aiming to spread a message throughout the UK that this is zero hour to stop climate change and other environmental issues that threaten our planet and future, and is going to be the largest youth-led climate mobilisation in history. Enough is enough. We have the knowledge, so do those in power. We know that climate change is affecting global weather systems, melting ice caps, causing sea level rise and increasing droughts, famine and floods. We, the younger generation, didn’t do this but we are going to be the first generation that truly experiences the impacts of man-made climate change on a vast global scale.
By marching, we are hoping to bring awareness to the climate crisis to more people than ever before and inspire others to take a more active role and call for climate action and environmental justice. This means governments and companies taking action on all climatic and environmental issues that our planet is facing such as reducing global CO2 emissions by divesting from fossil fuels and urgently increasing investment in renewable energy, and having strict carbon reduction targets being set in law; doing more to encourage plant-based lifestyles and educating youth on the importance of reducing your carbon footprint in schools, reducing our excessive use of single-use plastic, ending rainforest deforestation, stopping animal testing and animal cruelty on all fronts, and stopping loss of biodiversity and species extinction as well as preserving all the unique and incredible ecosystems that our planet is so lucky to have. Each country that has a Zero Hour march happening this year will have a set of aims they want their government to take action on.
In the past year, many youth-led movements have sprung up all over the world to combat all manner of issues which we the youth feel strongly about, most famously the March For Our Lives movement that was created in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida by teenagers such as Emma Gonzalez; which is calling for an end to gun violence and also advocating gun control in America. Youth voices are often discredited by the current generation as we are seen as children, incapable and developing with no power or knowledge. However youth can cause huge change, as we have seen with the March For Our Lives movement which has seen victories regarding gun control in certain states and has reignited the important discussion about gun violence. In the coming years I think that youth are going to be very important in the fight against climate change as more and more teenagers are awakening to the fact that climate change is happening right now, and that climate change is going to be the defining issue of our time as it is our generation who are going to be seeing the worst impacts of accelerated climate change, and unfortunately the current leaders do not have the foresight nor the will to take the determined action needed to ensure a stable future for my generation and for all the generations that come after me.
Almost all world governments and large-scale companies are now taking action on all these environmental issues, yet the action that the majority of these countries and companies are taking is nowhere near enough. We – the next generation – know this, and want to bring forward more determined and concentrated action and bring these environmental issues into the global spotlight and make sure that we have a secure future to live in.
As I have already said, my name is Oscar and I am 15 years old. I have always been interested in nature and animals on a basic level. When I was 13 I got my first phone and was introduced to social media; I then discovered the amazing environmental organisations such as Greenpeace who are constantly fighting for environmental justice every day, and gradually learnt more and more about the issues that our planet is facing as well as how little action was being taken to combat these issues. This led me to create Justice4Earth, an environmental cause that I founded and run on Instagram and Twitter where I work to raise awareness of environmental issues, and also share how people can change and adapt their lifestyle to negate their impact on the planet to an audience of around 12,500 people. I now also write environmental blogs for an amazing charity called Ripplezoo and am running a campaign and petition calling on the major UK supermarket Tesco to ditch palm oil from their own brand products. This petition on change.org has now had over 150,000 signatures and I am working on further action to bring my campaign closer to victory. A few months ago I ran a different petition on change.org calling on another large supermarket chain – Marks & Spencer – to ditch free handout plastic cutlery. My petition gained over 50,000 signatures and M&S responded, promising to swap out their plastic cutlery to sustainable bamboo cutlery by summer 2018 (this was a huge victory in the fight against plastic and also a huge victory for me)
If you would like to march with us in London, marchers are congregating at 11am in Euston Square, London, with the march beginning at 12am. We will march from Euston Square to Parliament Square where we will be having speeches given by youth such as youth environmental activists (including march organisers) and youth who are on the frontline of environmental issues and climate change, representatives from organisations and potentially a few celebrities as well. If you live in London or know someone who does, please inform them about the Zero Hour London march and encourage them to march with us (or march with us yourself) – it’s going to be great! This is just the start of what will become a huge global youth-led environmental movement which will hopefully be bringing climate action to the forefront of the global spotlight.
Main USA website: www.thisiszerohour.org
London march GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/zerohour-london
London march Twitter: www.twitter.com/zerohourlondon
London march Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ThisisZeroHourLondonMarch
London march Facebook Event: www.facebook.com/events/849565191904105
London march Instagram: www.instagram.com/thisiszerohourlondon