Generation: Change Z World

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Generation: Change Z World

Greta Thunberg leads the way as Gen Z'ers rally to protect the earth.

Greta Thunberg leads the way as Gen Z'ers rally to protect the earth.

Courtesy of Google Images

Greta Thunberg leads the way as Gen Z'ers rally to protect the earth.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Greta Thunberg leads the way as Gen Z'ers rally to protect the earth.

Connor Thompson, ENN Staff

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Chanting echos through the streets of Fort Worth. Picketers surround city hall demanding change. They protest for lawmakers to join them in solidarity to secure the future for the younger generations. 

These hundred people, according to an estimation by John MacFarlane, President of the Fort Worth Sierra Club, were a part of the 7.6 million protesters, who joined a massive global protest on September 20th. Many of the leading figures of this movement were teenagers.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old from Sweden, is one of the most popular youth figures in the Global Climate Strike. Thunberg spoke to the United Nations at the Climate Action Summit. Despite only being a teenager, Thunberg spoke passionately to many of the world’s most powerful leaders. Not only did she call for them to take action on the so-called crisis, but she criticized them for their delayed reaction.

Google Images
Climate Protestors gathered around city hall on September 20th to protest climate inaction. Courtesy of Google Images.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” said Thunberg in her speech.

The youth-led Global Climate Strike wasn’t just led by Thunberg, but hundreds of outspoken young people who believe now is the time to take action. One of these young people, Senior, Matthew Brown, goes to Lake Ridge, and considers himself an activist. Despite not physically taking part of the protest, Brown claims that he is still participating in the movement.

Activism is really just feeling strongly about a certain situation, and wanting to do something about it. You can have different roles as an activist, you don’t have to be physically involved in an issue. You can always just be the person that supports. I didn’t participate in (the Global Climate Strike) but I was really well informed about the school walkout led by Greta Thunberg. She did this last week, and even though I didn’t walk out, I was really for it,” said Brown.

Teenagers are not limited to only climate activism, despite the widespread success of the Global Climate Strike. Senior Aaron Libed is an activist for political understanding, meaning that he seeks to have those who lean to the left or right of the political spectrum to gain a mutual understanding of each other, in order to create real progress.

” I believe in constructive activism. All to often, we see whether you’re conservative or you’re liberal, we have a perception of activism as people who are toxic and people who drive division. If we make it cooperative, you’re not only representing your viewpoint and you’re not trying to prove others wrong so much so that you’re trying to prove the validity of your point, and that doesn’t mean belittling other people’s opinions or values, it means backing up your stance with evidence, reasoning, and logic,” said Libed.

Climate and Cooperative activism are only two forms of activism. Young people push for changes in Healthcare, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, LGBTQ+ Rights, and Religious Rights in the Amnesty Club, led by Senior Kayla Baluyot. Activists congregate in this club to discuss and debate their ideas for, what in their opinion, is a better future for Generation Z.

” I believe that it is through activism that change occurs in our world and that people are able to voice their position on issues that demand a change. Without activists, the push for social, political, economic, et cetera, changes would be greatly diminished and therefore the voices of the people would be lost,” said Baluyot.

The recent influx of teen activists has generated opposition from several leaders, including figures including President Donald Trump to Benny Johnson, the CEO of the conservative non-profit organization Turning Point USA. Johnson tweeting on September 23rd in reaction to a gif image of Donald Trump ignoring Thunberg, saying this is the way all americans should treat teen activists.

“Trump demonstrates how all Americans should treat annoying, foreign, communist propagandists on our soil — ignore them. SHARE if you are also sick of the left abusing & brainwashing innocent children to use them as political props,” tweeted Johnson.

The response to the opposition by youth activists has been that those who silence them are frightened by the idea of change. Matthew Brown says that no matter what, teen activists will persevere, and that those who refuse their proposed changes should fear them.

“The youth is the future. We deserve to be heard since it is us who will be affected by any changes, or the lack thereof, encouraged by our world’s leaders. By ignoring teen activists, these leaders display their ignorance and further the notion that they’re aiming to push their own agendas at the expense of future generations,” said Baluyot.