Young people in the hundreds of thousands walked out of classes this Fall to participate in Climate Strikes. They marched in the streets of Fort Collins, CO, Flint, MI and Alexandria, VA. In all nearly 400,000 young people participate in 1,500 climate strikes across the U.S. over the last three months.
The marches have undoubtedly changed the conversation. Now what?
The goal of a protest movement is to create a moment that can’t be ignored and then translate that moment into political action. When the march ends, the work begins.
Research shows that young people who participate in marches and strikes are interested in becoming more politically active. But, the biggest barrier to increasing their political activity is a lack of experience. They just don’t know how to engage in collective action to advocate for change.
At Earth Force we are giving young people the civic experiences that they need to advocate for change. Over the last 12 month nearly 10,000 young people have employed their passion for the environment to foster changes in policies and practices in their community. And, what projects they have produced. Earth Force students have changed policies about recycling, helped their communities adapt to climate change, improved local water protection efforts, and fought to have their schools free of mold.
Most importantly, these students now have experience using their power as citizens to improve the environment where they live. This experience is the start of a lifetime of civic engagement.
Each of us has the opportunity to help young people take this movement from the streets into city hall. Here are some things you can do:
- Make a donation – We are working with nonprofits and educators across the country to prepare young people as civic actors. A gift now directly funds the training of educators to change their classrooms in the 2019-2020 school year.
- Spread the word – You would be surprised how many Americans still believe that these students don’t know what they are talking about. Next time you are in a conversation about young people, let others know that you believe these young people are well informed and are doing important work.
- Recommend a teacher – If you know an educator who would like to support their students as they use the levers of democracy to solve environmental problems – send them to us. We will help them get the training and support they need.
Change begins when one person is brave enough to say “Enough.” It grows when thousands stand together to make their views heard. And, change is complete when those desires become the policies and practices that guide our communities. Join us in the effort to prepare young people to turn their passion into lasting community change.