Skipping school for a better future
Haven Coleman, a 12 — almost 13 — year-old from Colorado, brought Thunberg’s movement to the US. She co-founded the US Youth Climate Strike with 13-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor and 16-year-old Isra Hirsi. They orchestrated the network of strikes that took place across the country today, and The Verge followed along in New York City and San Francisco.
There’s an urgency to the movement. In October 2018, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave the world only 12 years to cut carbon emissions to keep global temperatures from rising more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. (The world has already warmed by one degree Celsius since the 1800s.) Even if that goal is met, a study published by the UN this week found that Arctic temperatures are still projected to spike, which will worsen sea level rise. But if we fail to cut carbon emissions, sea levels will rise even higher and encroach further onto shore. Droughts and water shortages will be more severe, and coral reefs may disappear completely. The clock is ticking.
WE HAVE VERY LITTLE TIME TO FIX EVERYTHING
Coleman calls out previous generations for procrastinating, and leaving the fight against climate change till the eleventh hour. “In the ‘70s we had the chance to eliminate climate change altogether,” Coleman says. Now, Coleman’s feeling the pressure of the 11-year deadline. Miss it, she says, “and you’re pretty much screwed.” So for the next 11 years, she has a mission: “I am going to use every second,” she says. “I’m going to try to get every voice and every person to act.”