Fridays for the Rights of Future Generations

22 June 2019

Young people were born into a world of climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and the realities of vast inequality. Generations before us knew we would have to face the consequences of climate change, yet we were excluded from the decision-making processes. Now, we must work together with all generations for intergenerational equity to get a legitimate seat at the table, demanding the protection of our future. 

In the face of the climate crisis and its catastrophic consequences, we need to be united and demand to be heard. Cooperation between generations is the key to achieving a future where life can thrive and where the rights of all people on earth are equally respected. 

We welcome and acknowledge the reports of the IPCC and IPBES, which shape our knowledge of the crisis. On the other hand, it forces us to wonder why this issue has been continually ignored by politicians who have failed to act on what we desperately need to do to mitigate the crisis. There is no choice but to act. Now. 

This is why we put our lives on hold for the climate strikes. Our strikes are as necessary as the air we breathe – this is why we are willing to sacrifice precious days of school. We must do all that we can to rebuild our world for the benefit of generations now, and those to come. 

We demand urgent and effective climate action and condemn any diversions from the path to climate justice. It is now time for young people to mobilize alongside the voices of indigenous peoples, women, marginalised groups and others whose voices are also not being heard. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Our window of time to act is now closing and we will no longer allow our voices to be systematically ignored. It is fundamental that we are involved in deciding on the future of life as we know it. 

Our fellow youth have been marching, striking, and raising awareness across the globe, as we did outside the conference venue yesterday, with the goal of ensuring intergenerational equity in the form of safety for us, our children and our future. Because all generations have an equal right to biodiversity, clean air, fresh water and safe and healthy environment, this is more than an environmental issue, it is an issue of justice. 

We have the solutions: participation of the voices who are left with the burden of climate change, voices with infinite passion and drive, as well as voices with the numbers to push forward serious change. We might still have some time, but the clock is ticking. We will dedicate ourselves to the fight for climate justice and intergenerational equity. As long as there is hope, there is a chance, and hope dies last.

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