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Demanding Seat at the Table, Youth Organizers Announce New Wave of Climate Strikes Ahead of UN Talks in Chile

"Young people are making it clear that we will support and vote for leaders who will listen to us because we will be here, striking, marching, rallying, and voting."

climate strikers

Millions of people across the globe participated in a pair of youth-led climate strikes in September of 2019. (Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

After millions of people worldwide took to the streets last month for a pair of global climate strikes, youth organizers on Tuesday announced a new wave of actions direct at upcoming United Nations climate talks schedule for December in Santiago, Chile.

"Injustice and greed created the climate crisis. The only way we can fight back is by fighting for a just and sustainable world that works for all of us, and it's going to take all of us."
—Zero Hour

The next series of strikes will be held on Nov. 29—the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday—and Dec. 6. The goal of the actions is to influence those attending the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13.

Political figures will gather at the conference in Chile to negotiate the implementation of the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Every country on Earth except the United States is committed to the agreement; mere months after taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump vowed to ditch the deal as soon as he can.

In a statement announcing the new strikes, Sophie Anderson, co-national coordinator of Extinction Rebellion Youth U.S., noted that "the United States is on track to be the only country not in the Paris agreement."

"To protect our future," Anderson said, "we need the U.S. and youth to have a seat at the international table to ensure the climate crisis is addressed through ambitious solutions."

Along with Anderson's group, others members of the Youth Climate Strike Coalition are Earth Guardians, Earth Uprising, Fridays for Future USA, Future Coalition, the Indigenous Youth Council, Sunrise Movement, U.S. Youth Climate Strike, and Zero Hour.

Ahead of the strikes in September that bookended the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, the coalition released five climate-related policy demands: respect for Indigenous land, environmental justice, protecting biodiversity, the implementation of sustainable agriculture, and a Green New Deal.

"As the 2020 election draws near, young people are making it clear that we will support and vote for leaders who will listen to us because we will be here, striking, marching, rallying, and voting," Isra Hirsi, co-executive director of U.S. Youth Climate Strike and daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), said Tuesday. "This is a movement, not a moment."

Like the upcoming demonstrations, the September strikes were held on Fridays in recognition of the #FridaysForFuture school strike movement inspired by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The 16-year-old, who sailed from the United Kingdom to New York City for the U.N. summit and related events, plans to travel to Santiago for COP25. She is currently traveling North American and is scheduled to be in Los Angeles to join the city's weekly school strikes this-coming Friday.

Thunberg's planned visit to L.A. comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and ordered tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes across the sprawling state because of more than a dozen dangerous wildfires. Activists, politicians, and journalists have highlighted how the blazes connect to the climate crisis.

"Fires are threatening millions of lives in California, and people across the South and Midwest are still rebuilding from record storms," Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash said in a statement Tuesday. "This is a climate emergency."

With the upcoming strikes, Prakash added, "we're putting all politicians on notice: if you don't stand with our generation and back the Green New Deal, young people will make your life hell as you try to get re-elected next year."

This post has been updated with a statement from Sunrise Movement.

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