• Kelly Miyamoto

Millennial and Teen Activism


PHOTO BY MARKUS SPISKE/UNSPLASH

Climate rallies are currently happening all over the world and more are set to take place in the coming weeks. With students across Canada expected to participate in upcoming demonstrations, many schools have made accommodations for them to do so without it affecting their academic record. This decision not only promotes awareness and the prioritization of environmental issues, but also allows and encourages students and staff to collectively take part in this movement.

I have seen millennials and teens called apathetic and accused of avoiding or outright rejecting responsibility in all respects. However, they also tend to be scoffed at when they stand up for causes they believe in. The efforts of teenagers especially are often belittled and dismissed as coming from people who aren't old enough, mature enough, educated enough, or worldly enough to have their words and positions be taken seriously. One example where this sentiment can be seen repeated time and time again is any occasion when teens speak about gun violence in schools, despite them being qualified to give voice to the fear and consequences of school shootings in a way that no other demographic can.

Youth climate activists are in a comparable situation. Out of everyone living today to talk about environmental issues, the youngest among us are the ones who will be most affected by the consequences of ongoing climate change. This has no doubt contributed to the rise in millennials and teens taking an active role in shaping the future they want. Though activism among youths is not new, it seems as though there have been generational surges among millennials and teenagers as they routinely organize and join in demonstrations spanning the globe.

Young activists have been among the most prominent and recognizable faces of various movements in recent years, including Malala Yousafzai for female education, several of the Parkland shooting survivors for gun control, and now Greta Thunberg for the environment. Sixteen-year-old Thunberg has been calling on governments worldwide to take significant action against climate change and announced recently that she intended to join those in Montreal at the climate demonstration scheduled for September 27.

Providing space and opportunities for the people to speak, march, demonstrate, and protest is important. Activism has been and continues to be an incredible catalyst for meaningful and lasting change. Millennials and teens are some of the loudest voices among climate demonstrators, but thankfully members of all generations are taking part in environmental rallies the world over. We should all do what we can in demanding action to protect the planet and reestablish a healthy environment for current and future generations.

Sweeping global and intergenerational demonstrations are powerful. Hopefully these will continue to encourage consistent and effective dedication to combating climate change. The more there are to join efforts in making a collective voice heard, the better.

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