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ENVIRONMENT

Israeli and Palestinian Youth Come Together to Protest Climate Change

Fridays for Future , the global youth climate stirke. (Courtesy of Pixabay)
Fridays for Future , the global youth climate stirke. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

“We don’t feel like we have a choice: It’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit.”

Last week, youth from around the world gathered in their own countries for a global strike against climate change. Among the participants were Palestinian and Israeli teens who protested together in Jerusalem.

Palestinian and Israelis Put Aside Political Differences for the Environment

More than 500 Palestinian and Israeli students banded together to strike against climate change inaction in front of Jerusalem’s Knesset (Israel’s legislative branch of government) on Tuesday. The youth put aside their political differences to send their governments an important message: “We must put the unfortunate hatred aside and focus on what actually matters the most: saving the world from an ongoing climate breakdown,” as Michael Bäcklund, a 16-year-old protester and the global outreach director of strike4future-Israel, wrote in an editorial in Climate Home News.

“We had Arab Palestinians and Jewish Israelis participating together. We have multiplied our following on social media, and we have started to plan a social media campaign with celebrities. We have also been asked to do a bunch of television and newspaper interviews,” Bäcklund wrote.

Bäcklund emphasized that although the movement for climate change has been going strong since December 2018, they are still struggling to convince the majority of the Israeli people to put aside their political problems and focus on saving their country and the world from impending climate breakdown.

“In Israel we face extreme weather conditions, mainly drought. Agriculture will suffer. The lack of water will increase when the temperature rises and heat waves arrive,” Bäcklund wrote. “Low income families will struggle with prices, spending will decrease, real estate business will become harder, hyper-inflation will arrive, not only in our country, but across the Middle East.”

Global Protest Led by Youth to Demand Climate Change Action

In August 2018 Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, led a school strike to save the climate outside of the Swedish Parliament. Soon after, youth from around the world joined the global “Fridays for Future” movement for positive climate change.

On Friday, May 24, teens from around the world participated in thousands of protests, skipping school to demand political action to stop disastrous climate change as part of the Fridays for Future movement.

“We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit,” Greta Thunberg wrote in an editorial in The Guardian. “Politicians have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence.”

According to Thunberg, fighting climate change is more than just a job for the world’s youth. It’s “not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job,” she said.

Climate Strike (Courtesy of Pixabay)

Another Global Climate Strike Planned for September

Thunberg and Bäcklund, along with the thousands of other teens involved in the Fridays for Future movement, are planning another global strike for climate change in September.

“So this is our invitation. Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate,” Thunberg wrote in The Guardian.

Bäcklund stressed the urgency of the climate change crisis. “Climate change is an urgent crisis not just from a biological, ecological and environmental perspective. It will also cause humanitarian and especially economic distress,” he wrote.

Thunberg asked for the help of both youth and adults during the September strike: “We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.”

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Leighanna Shirey

Leighanna graduated with a degree in English from Pensacola Christian College. After teaching high school English for five years, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and editing. When not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her dogs, and drinking way too much coffee.

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