Movement

Youth Climate Strike

Website:

https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/

Executive Director:

Isra Hirsi

Youth Climate Strike is an ostensibly youth-led environmentalist organization that organizes students skipping school in order to protest for environmentalist austerity policies to combat climate change. In addition to organizing protests involving students skipping school, the group has also applied pressure to Democrat presidential primary candidates on climate issues.

History and Organization

The Youth Climate Strike is an environmentalist protest wave ostensibly led by school-age children inspired by the activism of high-school-age Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The group was announced in January of 2019 by 12 year old environmental activist Haven Coleman, 14 year old activist Alexandria Villasenor, and 16 year old activist Isra Hirsi. According to a press release form the group, Isra Hirsi is the only remaining executive director of the group, following Coleman’s resignation in July of 2019. [1] The group’s website, youthclimatestrike.org, was registered on February 5, 2019. [2]

The group is organized with student state leads who organize strike activities. [3]

Activities

Youth Climate Strike encourages school-age children to sit out of school in order to bring attention to their environmentalist policy demands. On March 15, 2019 the group organized a strike in 41 states. [4] The group was involved in the “global climate strike” and other climate protest activities around the country from September 20, 2019 to September 26, 2019.

In the summer of 2019, the group partnered with MoveOn.org to lobby Democratic Presidential primary candidates to support a DNC sponsored climate debate. The MoveOn.org petition has so far amassed over 93,000 signatures. [5] [6] The Sunrise Movement credited Youth Climate Strike with playing a large role in making possible a “CNN Climate Townhall,”[7] at which candidates called for international population control and a nationwide ban on plastic straws. [8]

The group supports the socialist-environmentalist Green New Deal, that among other things includes promoting urban density, eliminating private prisons and prison labor, educating prisoners on environmentalist careers, creating a government-run bank, investing in environmentalist energy, and accepting “climate refugees” from around the globe. As part of the Green New Deal they also call for government-funded healthcare for workers in “extractive and toxic industries,” as well as a moratorium on the construction of any new conventional energy infrastructure.  Additionally, the group calls for the declaration of a climate emergency by the government. [9]

The group demands compulsory climate education for elementary and middle-school students with the express acknowledgement that this is a time period where children are most impressionable. [10]

Leadership

Isra Hirsi, a 16 year old climate activist, is a co-founder and the current executive director of Youth Climate Strike. She claims to have developed “a very well rounded knowledge of climate change” due to the diverse community she lives in and her native Minnesota’s “intense climate.” She also states that “as a black Muslim woman, it is important to me to have intersectionality be brought into this fight!” [11]

Haven Coleman, a 12 year old environmental activist who skips school every Friday to hold a sign in front of government buildings in Denver, was a co-founder of the group, but resigned from her leadership position in July of 2019. [12] [13] In 2017 she garnered attention for confronting U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) over environmental issues. [14]

Alexandria Villasenor, a 14 year old climate activist, was involved in the group’s founding, but is no longer involved. [15] She is the founder and executive director of the environmental activist organization Earth Uprising. [16]

References

  1. “Peaceful Change of Leadership in US Youth Climate Strike,” July 13, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://twitter.com/usclimatestrike/status/1150557870821453825. ^
  2. “YouthClimateStrike.Org.” NetIm.com. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://www.netim.com/domain-name/whois-search.html. ^
  3. “Contact.” YouthClimateStrike.org. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/contact. ^
  4. “Climate Reality Leader Haven Coleman Talks Today’s Youth Climate Strike.” ClimateRealityProject.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-reality-leader-haven-coleman-talks-today-youth-climate-strike. ^
  5. “2020 Presidential Candidates Must Debate Environmental Policy #climatedebate.” MoveOn.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/the-2020-presidential. ^
  6. “Home.” YouthClimateStrike.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/?fbclid=IwAR0mR37xl6F2y-IcW3g9Crtg6iIu6Zr5ctAhSTtwZKnxpokqgAQ_62vn36A. ^
  7. Sunrise Movement. Twitter.com, September 4, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://twitter.com/sunrisemvmt/status/1169451330638942212. ^
  8. Garcia, Victor. “’The Future Seems so Bleak’ : ‘The Five’ React to Climate Change Plans Proposed by Dems on CNN.” Fox News. FOX News Network, September 5, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/media/the-five-react-to-bleak-future-and-proposed-climate-change-plans. ^
  9. “Platform.” YouthClimateStrike.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/platform. ^
  10. “Platform.” YouthClimateStrike.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/platform. ^
  11. “Meet the Movement.” YouthClimateStrike.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/about?fbclid=IwAR0mR37xl6F2y-IcW3g9Crtg6iIu6Zr5ctAhSTtwZKnxpokqgAQ_62vn36A. ^
  12. Kutz, Jessica. “Meet the 12-Year-Old Activist Taking Politicians to Task over Climate Change.” Grist.org, February 23, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://grist.org/article/meet-the-12-year-old-activist-taking-politicians-to-task-over-climate-change/. ^
  13. “Peaceful Change of Leadership in US Youth Climate Strike,” July 13, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://twitter.com/usclimatestrike/status/1150557870821453825. ^
  14. Kutz, Jessica. “Meet the 12-Year-Old Activist Taking Politicians to Task over Climate Change.” Grist.org, February 23, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://grist.org/article/meet-the-12-year-old-activist-taking-politicians-to-task-over-climate-change/. ^
  15. “Peaceful Change of Leadership in US Youth Climate Strike,” July 13, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://twitter.com/usclimatestrike/status/1150557870821453825. ^
  16. “Global Youth Council.” EarthUprising.org. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://earthuprising.org/global-youth-council/. ^
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