Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Hiding or ignoring the facts on planetary climate change will do nothing to eradicate the detrimental consequences we now face. Though our future may look uncertain, we can’t be afraid of teaching the truth and responding boldly. (Image:

World's Youth Are Ready to March for Bold Action on Climate

Afsana Akter

If young people are looking for an invitation, this is it. Climate change is here and it’s not going away. This is the time to change everything and we need America’s youth to make it happen.

I am a Muslim woman who grew up in Bangladesh. I moved to Brooklyn when I was ten years old and have been living there ever since. I am currently serving as a fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), the leading youth climate education organization in the country. Just a few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a youth summit with ACE and their partner, Global Kids, where my peers and I prepared for the upcoming People’s Climate March (PCM). The PCM will take place in conjunction with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s, UN Climate Summit. In case you haven’t heard, this is a big deal. World leaders from around the world will come to New York City to make bold announcements and discuss actions that will reduce emissions and mobilize political will for a strong international climate agreement in 2015.

"In the end, we won’t wait for the UN to make decisions for us; we will continue doing great work in our communities to fight for climate justice."

The People’s Climate March is just what it sounds like—a march, but this one is different. It will be the biggest action on climate in world history, with more than 100,000 people expected to attend.

As a New Yorker, I’m proud to stand alongside others in the march because I am intimately familiar with climate injustice. Hurricane Sandy devastated many of the communities around me and disproportionately affected youth, people of color and the elderly. Everyone has a different message they’ll be bringing with them to the march. For me, the battle cry will be for climate education. Climate education is vital in solving the climate crisis because youth will be most affected by climate change and we have the right to make decisions about our future.

I recently joined ACE and Global Kids at City Hall to hear the resolution for mandating climate education for all NYC k-12 students. This resolution was introduced by my peers and I and sponsored by City Council Member, Costa Constantinides. It was a truly exciting moment for me. I think back to Hurricane Sandy and how much more we could have done to prepare had the public been adequately educated about climate change and resilience.  

When young people are armed with the facts, we can make more informed decisions to mitigate climate change and prepare for its impacts. I, along with my peers, no longer want to be a target for misinformation. Hiding the facts will not eradicate the detrimental consequences, and though our future may look uncertain, we can’t be afraid of teaching the truth. We’re better off to face it today and learn how to take action now, rather than suffer the consequences tomorrow.

There’s no way around it - climate change is the defining issue of my generation. That’s why I plan to do my part, and will be mobilizing others for the People’s Climate March. I’m inviting friends, family, and classmates to participate. I’ll be putting up posters around my university and I’ll be showing up on September 21st with ACE and Global Kids to march with my peers. For me, this fight is personal. I want young people to have access to climate education, and I want all K-12 students in NYC schools, and all New Yorkers for that matter, to have the opportunity to learn about and act on climate change.

Though the enormity of climate change may seem at times to be a hopeless situation, there is great hope in the power of numbers. More than 100,000 voices will be united together to fight for bold action on climate change. In the end, we won’t wait for the UN to make decisions for us; we will continue doing great work in our communities to fight for climate justice – but the real game-changer will be equal access to climate education. Join us.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Afsana Akter

Afsana Akter is a youth climate activist with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) and Global Kids. She was born in Bangladesh and moved to Brooklyn when she was ten years old. She is a recent graduate of Brooklyn School for the Collaborative Studies and a current freshman at Barnard College in New York City.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Coalition Urges Biden to Make 'Transformative Change' in Approach to Global Food and Agriculture

"This pro-corporate agriculture agenda must change under your watch."

Andrea Germanos ·

Mondaire Jones Warns Against Watering Down Human Infrastructure Proposals

The New York Democrat is advocating universal programs, not means-tested ones, for programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Andrea Germanos ·

Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·

'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·

Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo