This afternoon, a coalition of climate activists will gather at Tampa city hall to participate in a “global climate strike” in an effort to bring awareness to the climate crisis.
While the event is organized by a diverse coalition, local youth have played the biggest role in putting together this event.
“As youth, we have the largest stake and we can no longer be silent,” said Anisa Nanavati, an Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE) organizer. “In Tampa, we are seeing the effects of climate change first hand and the future of our city is at stake. I want a world where my four younger siblings and future generations can enjoy the place that we call home.”
Youth in Sunrise Plant High School, Food and Water Action, and the Tampa Bay Climate Alliance are co-hosting the strike with Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, ACE, the Tampa Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Cleo Institute.
Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released their sixth assessment report, which warned that climate change is now a “code red for humanity.” This report calls for acting with an urgency never seen before, and climate groups in Tampa Bay have responded to this call.
Organizers say that this strike is focused on local, state, and federal governmental officials, demanding that they take necessary action in response to the warnings of the IPCC report. The Tampa location’s strike demands include encouraging the city to declare a climate emergency, creating plans to divest from fossil fuel usage and subsidization, setting plans to reach net-zero emissions, and employing climate justice in the fight against climate change. The event is a continuation of a strike that occurred in 2019. Organizers say around 300 people came out to support that event.
Julia Perrigault-Eng, Sunrise PHS Co-Founder says learning that government officials are putting her generation’s lives at stake for the sake of profit is disheartening to learn.
“As youth, our voices aren’t represented in the legislation that decides the future of our planet,” Perrigault-Eng says. “The time to act is now because the effects of climate change are not slowing down anytime soon. Our politicians must listen to the voices of Generation Z and declare a Climate Emergency immediately.”
In Florida, there will be four strikes in Miami, Tallahassee, Orlando, and Tampa. Attendees across the state will be wearing red to call attention to the IPCC report. Environmental and social justice organizations from around Tampa will be represented, and multiple youth speakers will be featured.
“Climate change is not an issue of the future. It is happening here and now,” said Caitlin Hagney, Sunrise PHS Co-Founder and Sunrise Movement Youth Organizer.
Hagney says that whenever adults applaud her for taking action at such a young age, she explains to them she doesn’t have a choice.
“If we don’t fight now, and don’t enact the legislation we need to cut emissions drastically within the next few years at most, global warming will be what collapses my generation, and my future,” Hagney says.
This year, Fridays for Future- a group affiliated with teen climate activist Greta Thunberg- set the national Climate Day of Action for September 24. The coalition says the strike will be a chance to demand change before it is too late. The youth-led day of climate action welcomes people of all ages, nationalities, genders, and sexualities to show up and advocate for a better tomorrow.
“Tampa Bay climate activists of all ages are proud to stand with the youth as we demand a better future for our communities,” said Brooke Errett, Florida Senior Organizer with Food & Water Action. “We call on our Representative Castor to fight for Tampa Bay and stand up to fossil fuel subsidies in the Build Back Better Act. A better future is one that does not pay fossil fuel companies to pollute.”
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