Cellphone and computer

Two years ago, on a cold December day in New York City, then-13-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor skipped school – but not because she wanted to sleep in or binge-watch TV.

“I ended up going and sitting at this bench in front of the United Nations headquarters here,” she says.

Inspired by the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Villaseñor went on strike from school to demand action on the climate crisis.

That first day, she was alone. But since then, the youth climate movement has grown, and she’s been organizing protests with other young leaders in New York City and around the world.

“I think that that’s one of the things that makes this current movement so strong,” she says. “Most of our actions that we have are global actions, are all coordinated through social media. It’s how we connect. It’s how we meet each other.”

So although the COVID-19 pandemic has kept them indoors, Villaseñor says it has not slowed them down.

Every Friday, they lead online strikes and flood social media with pictures of themselves holding up signs from their kitchens and bedrooms.

She says for many young people, leveraging online platforms is nothing new. So even during a pandemic, they’re prepared to keep demanding climate action.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Youth