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'This Is Zero Hour': Youth-Led Marches Across the Globe Demand Immediate and Ambitious Climate Action

"Climate change is our last chance to either fix colossal systems of inequality or reach a chaotic state where your privilege ultimately decides if you live or die."

"This isn't something that's going to affect us 70, 80 years in the future. This is going to affect us. Our futures, our careers, our lives," said Talia Grace, social media director for Zero Hour, the movement behind this weekend's mass actions. (Photo: Zero Hour)

Declaring that climate change is "an issue of survival" that must be confronted with urgency, young activists across the globe on Saturday kicked off three days of marches and demonstrations to pressure elected officials to "reject the corrupting monetary influence of fossil fuel executives," ban all new dirty energy developments, and safeguard the planet for both its current inhabitants and future generations.

"Climate change is our last chance to either fix colossal systems of inequality and emerge as a more efficient, better equipped society as a whole, or reach a chaotic state where your privilege ultimately decides if you live or die," said 16-year-old climate activist Ivy Jaguzny ahead of Saturday's events, which are expected to take place "in cities from Washington, D.C. to Butere, Kenya."

"This isn't something that's going to affect us 70, 80 years in the future," added Talia Grace, social media director for Zero Hour, the movement behind this weekend's mass actions. "This is going to affect us. Our futures, our careers, our lives."

"This Is Zero Hour," the slogan and label of the worldwide marches, is aimed at clearly articulating the necessity of immediate and bold climate action as warming global temperatures continue to spark extreme weather events and wreak havoc, disproportionately inflicting irreversible harm on the poorest nations and most vulnerable communities.

A year of relentless organizing and planning in the making, the three days of action beginning Saturday are bolstered by a detailed and ambitious platform (pdf) that calls on political leaders to:

  • Respect the rights of Indigenous people;
  • "Recognize the constitutional right of youth to a livable climate";
  • Eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies "immediately"; and
  • "Ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure and make massive investment in local solar and wind energy companies" in the coming years.

"Kids are suing the government, we're marching, we're lobbying, we're just pretty much just getting down and just begging them: Can I not have a world that’s totally falling apart?" Jamie Margolin, a 16-year-old environmentalist, told the Huffington Post.

"Everything is on the line, so it's very hard to plan your future assuming that everything is going to be the same when you know it’s not," Margolin added. "It's really scary, especially for a young person who is looking into what I want to do with my life... I just want to have a world to grow up in where I can live my life and not have to worry about such existential fears."

Early Saturday, speeches and marches began to kick off in Trafalgar Square in London:

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