Why young adults are angry and afraid about climate change

Talula Thibault (left) and Olivia Zukowski (right) worked on posters Thursday night that they hope will add to the visual art of the Global Climate Strike movement. Photos: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Talula Thibault (left) and Olivia Zukowski (right) worked on posters Thursday night that they hope will add to the visual art of the Global Climate Strike movement. Photos: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

Why young adults are angry and afraid about climate change

By Ashley A. Williams
Talula Thibault, a senior at the University of Miami and chair of the ECO Agency, will participate in the Global Climate Strike alongside a million others around the globe.

Teens and young adults around the globe, including some at the University of Miami, are rebelling against the lack of action being taken to combat the impacts of climate change threatening their future.

On Friday, people in more than 2,500 locations around the world, including 900 cities in the United States, will take part in the Global Climate Strike.

University of Miami senior Talula Thibault said the science supports that the threat is there and that the issue is real and scary.

A recent survey by The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more than half of U.S. teens are afraid of climate change.

“We don’t want our profits-driven representatives in the government denying science any longer,” said Thibault, chair of the ECO Agency.

The massively coordinated strike from school and work is aimed at directly protesting government and businesses for their inaction on climate change. A second strike is being planned for Sept. 27.

“We want to help save the planet,” said Thibault. “We are worried for our future.”

The poll by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates that there is a spike in activism among an age group that includes many who aren’t yet old enough to vote. The survey reveals that about 1 in 7 U.S. teens have participated in climate change school walk-outs. It also indicated that roughly 4 in 10 say alleviating the effects of warming will require major sacrifices from ordinary Americans.

“Recycling is cute, but strict, sustainable, enforced, earth-friendly policies are what we need to save us from climate change before it reaches the tipping point of permanent disaster for the human race,” said Thibault, a geography and ecosystem science and policy double major.

The ECO Agency’s mission is to promote an environmentally aware culture by implementing sustainable initiatives to protect campus ecosystems and their relationship to the student experience. Students involved in the organization have completed and implemented numerous eco-friendly initiatives, such as installing LED lighting in the Herbert Wellness Center and the free pop-up secondhand swap program offered by UThrift, located at the Well 'Canes Market on Wednesdays.

Members of the ECO Agency work on posters that they hope will add to the visual art of the Global Climate Strike movement
ECO Agency members Anna Timmons and Alexis Cambridge work on posters.

The strike is a big moment for youth and adult leaders around the world. Thibault describes this as “the biggest concern and challenge facing humanity right now.” In New York City, one of the nation’s largest school districts, 1.1 million students won’t be penalized if they choose to skip classes to attend the climate strike.

Along with the walk outs that are part of the Global Climate Strike, over 6,000 websites and companies plan to join the Digital Climate Strike to raise visibility.

Thibault encouraged students to meet at the Stanford Circle to take shared-rides to Miami Beach City Hall. She also said students should carpool or use public transit, bring only reusable water bottles, and create their own posters and graphics to add to the visual art of the movement.

“We are passionate and concerned young people who want to mitigate the effects of unnatural global warming,” said Thibault. “We want to help save the planet. We are worried for our future. Actions have got to be taken on a large-scale.”