Hello everyone and thank you for coming out this afternoon! My name is Julianna Marton, and right now, I am both afraid and hopeful. I’m slightly terrified because, well, I want to represent this movement as best I can. But more importantly, I am hopeful. And that is due to all of you who believe that we can make a change- and together, we will.
For those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you, I turned sixteen this Wednesday. And, as a young person who wants to make a change, I won’t pretend that I always thought this was as big of an issue as it is. But over the years, I have seen my family evacuated from California forest fires. I have seen my friends’ houses destroyed by falling trees and hurricanes. Every day, I see a new disaster- and every day, I feel a little more helpless.
But today I feel more optimistic about my future and the future of our one and only planet. I won’t pretend I know every statistic on climate change, but I do know that with every day that goes by, there are more of them. By 2030, the year the IPCC states will be the last to lower emissions, I will be 27. Some of my cousins will be just 12- and it terrifies me to think that that could be the end of their world.
This morning, I sat outside my local hardware store with a sign and my friend Rachel, hoping to inspire people in the many, many cars that passed by. People honked, kids going to school stared at us, but most surprisingly, three adults stopped to tell us that they were proud of our dedication and commitment to our planet. I’m not going to lie, every time someone stopped, I thought I wouldn’t make it here today. But now that I am here, in one piece, I am thankful that it is not only the youth who are trying to support the future.
People have told me that school is the most important thing to focus on, and I don’t doubt that it is a priority for most people my age (myself included). I want to be a lawyer, to travel the world, but in order to do so, it is my obligation to help save it. Why the youth? Because, as of now, we are the last ones who can change our world for the better. But, with luck, legislation, and renewable sources, we will be far from the last generation to make our world a better place.
For a long time I was scared to read about was happening to our world. But now, not only do I realize that I have to acknowledge these things that are happening, but I also have to try and change them- if not for my sake, then for the sakes of those who will hopefully inhabit this planet after me.
Article by Carolyn Kormann, published in The New Yorker
Video and Article by Spectrum News NY1
Article by Jen Chung and Photos by Sai Mokhtari, published in Gothamist
Interview with Zero Hour NYC Co-Founder Ilana Cohen
Op-Ed by Co-Founders Ilana Cohen & Amy Torres, published in City Limits