Climate change has been a hot-topic issue for decades, but recently the conversation has taken on a more dire tone. When the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released damning evidence of humanity’s effects on climate warming, people and organizations sprang to action to raise awareness of the crisis brewing as global temperatures continue to rise. One of these organizations is Earth Strike, a grassroots movement which is demanding immediate action on slowing warming from corporations or governments.
The movement has joined forces with other groups to advocate for a general strike to address the issue, and plans for massive protests have sprung up all around the world. However, it’s becoming clear that the fight against climate change will be an uphill battle.
“I really do think a lot of people are scared and feel a bit helpless,” said Andrea Shaw, a co-organizer for Earth Strike NYC. “They are unsure how to change the direction the planet is going in. They think that no matter how we change our individual behaviors, we will never overpower the effects of big businesses and governments. That is a scary realization. But, we all hope this realization encourages people to take action and demand change. Big businesses and governments will not profit from a dying planet.”
Shaw has been working with Earth Strike since its formation in November of 2018, when she learned just how little time remains to solve the problem humanity has created for itself. She quickly realized just how much climate change is driven by large companies—in Earth Strike’s mission statement, they draw attention to just how much greenhouse gas emissions is driven by just the top 100 polluters—as much as 70 percent. It’s this disassociation from the causes of climate change that can cause people to feel helpless.
But especially on Long Island, the stakes are too high to take action, Shaw says.
“If Long Islanders are curious how climate change may affect them and why they should demand climate action, there are a few things to note. According to the Dept. of Environmental Conservation in New York, sea levels are projected to increase 18 to 50 inches higher by 2100. So, what does this mean exactly? Increased sea levels of this number will cause severe flooding and storm surge damage to our environment, species, communities, our protected drinking water, energy systems and buildings. Right now, we don’t have much in place to protect people living on Long Island or around the city from this large sea level increase. This increase will affect those in Long Island and New York City.”
Organizations like Earth Strike are instrumental in the fight against climate change. Though large corporations control much of the wealth and distribute a vast amount of pollution, Earth Strike stresses that it still takes every individual’s voice to make a difference. Even though it may seem like an impossible task, Shaw and Earth Strike believe that all together at once, people can make a stand and demand action against the worsening effects of climate change.
“Strike in unison with Earth Strike and other movements on Sept. 29, when the general strike begins,” Shaw urged those who are looking to get involved in climate activism. “Take a personal stance against companies and governments who are refusing to change their behavior. Do not buy products from or support companies such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and large banks to name a few…You don’t have to always be experienced in activism to start, and there are plenty of people new to activism also just joining in. There are people out there that will help you and that are also eager for your fresh perspective.”
To learn more about the NYC Youth Climate Strike, visit the Facebook event page.