More than 75 youth climate activists in Tucson rallied to join student climate protesters around the world who are calling for an end to fossil fuels as the earth heats up. In Tucson, several youth activists spoke at El Presidio Plaza in downtown Tucson on September 15, 2023, to demand local action in the state of Arizona.
From Europe to Africa to southeast Asia, tens of thousands of climate activists launched protests Friday to call for an end to the burning of planet-warming fossil fuels as the globe suffers dramatic weather extremes and record-breaking heat.
Ojas Sanghi, the Tucson co-lead of the Arizona Youth Climate Coalition‘s Tucson chapter, opened the event. “We demand that politicians do much more to address the water crisis and address the natural disasters that are heat waves. That’s right. Now let’s make sure those politicians up in Phoenix hear us from here,” he said.
Tucson co-lead Annabel Close has been involved in climate activism since she was 10 years old. She has been active in AZYCC for four years. “It is hard to feel hopeful about your future. It is hard to dream about having a life, all because of that one dooming sentence: climate change,” she said.
“Climate change will be end the of our lives. Every world issue we have will become exponentially worse. There will be floods and tropical storms on a scale never seen before. Drought and famine will touch millions more around the globe. Heatwaves will intensify to a point unimaginable. Turning southern and central Arizona into an unlivable wasteland by the end of the century,” she said.
“The solutions have been laid out. The Politicians still turn the other way. We have been giving warning after warning for the past few decades. Messages that have been, for the most part, entirely ignored. There is no more time for warnings. We need action now.”
“I wish when I thought about my future, I could feel anything other than dread. Dread for our people. Dread for our children. Dread for our planet. I will not wait anymore. I want to be able to breathe for the first time in five years.
I want action. Real action. I want our senators and representatives to rise up in their seats as one and do something. The young people of Arizona, the United States, and the world demand that our politicians get their acts together and start putting climate change mitigating policies at the top of their agenda.”
“And to the Senators and Representatives of Arizona, you have our lives in your hands, and I beg of you to stop handling them so poorly. Time is running out. We have the data. We have the solutions. And there has never been a better time for change.”
Emilia Kim, the Policy Director for AZYCC, said, “From the numerous A.C. breakdowns throughout the summer to even hearing of people who are fainting on the sidewalk and are getting third-degree burns from our sidewalks — this is the time to demand action.”
“I enjoyed the forests and the lakes. I went kayaking and camping during each school break, but especially in the summer. But now, the summers are too hot. It’s too hot,” she said. “We need them to address the bodies that have been killed by climate change. And that is done by creating renewable energy within our city, within our state and within our nation. That is done by decarbonizing the energy sector. But most importantly, that is making sure that our state stays livable, not only for us, but for our future.
Tanish Doshi, AZYCC Outreach Director, talked about successes of the youth climate movement. “The successes we have felt because of the climate movement it is not new. It has been developing and growing for decades. As young people here today in the Arizona Youth Climate Coalition and UAZ Divest, we are already asking and
succeeding to get climate emergencies declared by people like the Mayor of Tucson. We are asking universities to divest from the millions of dollars they have invested in fossil fuels,” he said.
“Believe in youth activism. Believe in the power of young people to make changes for the future because we have already proven ourselves. We have shown you that when we mobilize when we work together, change is possible.”
“Change is inevitable. Youth across this city, this state, and this country are fighting for all of our futures today. So believe in us and support us. And only then, working together as young, old, middle-aged, from every single walk of life, can we defeat the climate crisis,” he said.