Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Teen-Agers Fighting for Climate Justice
By Carolyn Kormann
July 22, 2018
On Saturday, hundreds of teen-agers—loud, pensive, stubbornly determined—marched through Manhattan. They represented a movement that other teen-agers had started, last year, called Zero Hour. They were gravely concerned about politicians doing almost nothing for climate justice, and they had created a list of demands—including, most importantly, achieving negative carbon emissions by 2030.
Juhal and Hu are both rising seniors, at Bronx Science and Stuyvesant High School, respectively. Both want to study computer science after they graduate and remembered first learning about climate change in “Arthur” and “The Magic School Bus” cartoons. Their biggest concern is sea-level rise. “Especially because we’re both from Queens,” Johal said. “We live on an island. It’s really scary to think it won’t exist in the future.” (By the end of the next decade, sea-level rise around Queens could be greater than a foot.)
One of the speakers at the post-march rally was Leela Sotsky, who wore a bright-yellow-leather backpack and had long lavender nails. She called out one of her teachers at her high school in Fresh Meadows, Queens, where she will soon be a senior. “It was snowing in April, which is kind of odd,” she said. “He said it was evidence that global warming isn’t real. And I had to talk to him about it, explain that it was not evidence—that weather and climate are not the same.”
A 2017 Newsbusters post “Use Clean Energy or Monsters Will Eat You” has video clips of Magic Schoolbus children’s climate messaging.