Photo Essay: Teens Are Really Worried About the Climate, and They'd Like Adults to Do Something About It

The climate change protest group known as Extinction Rebellion continues to shut down London in a third day of action demanding government officials treat climate change as an emergency.

Authorities have arrested some 300 people; protesters have shut down 55 bus routes, affecting half a million London residents.

Among the protests that took place internationally on Monday was a Bay Area demonstration at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. On the heels of last month's student walkout to protest the lack of action on the climate, we talked to some of the young people who showed up to register their dismay at what's not happening to solve what scientists agree is becoming an environmental catastrophe. We asked them two questions:

How worried are they about climate change? And what do they want adults to do about it?

Nadja Goldberg, 15, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts


"I'm terrified of the future impacts climate change will have, which is more forest fires and drought. I am part of a group called Youth vs. Apocalypse, and I think it's really true that the effects of climate change are similar to that of an apocalypse. I think since the Green New Deal came out, the conversation on climate change has become much more frequent, and [it] lays out a clear plan to address climate change. So that makes me really excited. A lot of people tell me: 'It's up to you guys to save us,' but I think its up to everyone, not just young people."

Baxter Bhansali, 15, International High School of San Francisco

"I'm 15 and when I grow up, we are going to have to deal with the effects of this. I'm going to be alive in 2050; I'm going to be alive in 11 years, when the U.N. reports that that's the point of no return. I want to have food. I don't want agriculture to be impossible. Also the fact that just as a human being I have empathy for other people -- with rising temperatures there's going to be refugees, and people losing their homes, and losing their lives, and I don't want that to happen. They should pass laws like the Green New Deal or other laws that disincentivize the use of carbon fuels and fossil fuels and things that produce a lot of carbon emissions."

Hallie Evans, 15, Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo; Mariah Lazalde, 14, MetWest High School in Oakland

"Reading (that) the scientists have these theories of what will happen if we don't fix climate change within the 10-year range, it worries me a lot. There's a lot of people trying to participate in fixing the problem, but there's not really things being done. Yes, I'm young, but I feel like adults,in a way, could do a little bit more than I can as a 15-year-old, and I feel like they can use their power in a way to help us." - Hallie Evans

'When I first found out about climate change was in school, and I started reading these articles saying that we only have a timespan of 10 years to fix this problem, and I feel like there's not anything being done. None of our elected officials are doing anything. Yes, we are putting pressure on [them], but they are not doing anything; they are ignoring us. Our adults basically made this happen, because I wasn't here 14 years ago ... ."  -Mariah Lazalde

Charlie Kushelevsky, 16, International High School of San Francisco

"There's no force stopping it right now in the level that's needed. Something needs to be done. More legislation needs to be passed that limits carbon emissions in general, and there needs to be a general consensus of recognition of climate change and the damage of fossil fuels."

Efrem Blitz, 15, El Cerrito High School

"It's risking all of our futures as well as the animals in the world. It's said we have 12 years before we cause permanent damage to the environment, and a lot of scientists said that we already have and we are already past that point. If the government doesn't want to admit that change is urgent, then we are going to be here marching and protesting all day."

All photos by Lindsey Moore. Jon Brooks and Kat Snow contributed to this post.

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