Earth Day 2020 and the coronavirus: It is time to unite behind the science and save lives

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Vanessa Nakate and other young climate activists meet in a zoom call to discuss climate action

My name is Vanessa Nakate and I am a climate activist from Uganda. I started doing climate activism in January 2019 by going to the streets and striking for the climate. I have seen the people in my country experience the disasters that come with climate change and I am scared of the future that the young people have to walk in as a result of it.

Now the world is experiencing another crisis that has completely turned everything upside down. The COVID-19 has changed people’s lives. The science advised us to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. And as young people, we always listen to it.

This is exactly what we have been telling the adults and the leaders to do, to listen to the science. Lives are saved when science is listened to.

We cannot keep going to the streets to strike for climate. We must treat every crisis like the crisis that it is. A lot has changed for us since we cannot go out anymore and demand action, but that does not mean that the climate movement has been silenced.

We cannot be silenced. Of course, right now we are in a situation where it seems like the world does not want to listen to the climate message. It looks like we are struggling to be heard because many people are focused on the current situation, hence forgetting that we were and still are facing a major crisis in our lives that the leaders have not bothered to address.

The climate crisis is still on. It has not gone. It has not changed. There are victims of climate change now. We just don’t get to hear their stories and how they are suffering. That is why we can’t keep silent at a time like this. We must keep speaking. We must keep pushing the message and this is exactly what we are doing. The climate activists have taken their action online.

Read other blogs by young climate activists, here

We cannot keep going to the streets to strike for climate. We must treat every crisis like the crisis that it is. A lot has changed for us since we cannot go out anymore and demand action, but that does not mean that the climate movement has been silenced.
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Vanessa Nakate, a climate activist from Uganda

Climate Strikes Online

Yes, we are doing climate strikes online now every Friday. Some activists are doing solo strikes in their homes while others are doing Zoom calls with over 100 participants to clearly show that nothing has changed in the climate movement.

The message is still as clear as day: we want climate justice. We may not be able to go to the streets anymore, but that cannot stop us from striking.

All we have done is to switch location because we respect science. We are doing our strikes and pushing the message on various social media platforms. The Fridays for Future groups in various countries are holding webinars about climate change.

The activists in my country are sending out daily videos, started a podcast to talk to activists and amplify their voice. Many activists are using their Youtube channels to send the message out.

The climate movement cannot be stopped. We know what we want because it is our future at stake. We need a secure future for ourselves and the coming generations after us.

Solidarity and responsibility

The youth climate movement is showing solidarity with their older relatives by taking climate strikes online and staying inside to help keep everyone safe. We listened to the science and respected the instructions given to us.

This is why we expect the adults and leaders to stop running away from responsibility and take the necessary action. They need to listen to the science to keep us safe. To protect the people at the frontlines of the climate crisis. To save our home.

Earth is our home and our responsibility. And they need to do everything they can to protect it. It is time to listen to the science. It is time to unite behind the science and save lives.

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Uganda