A recent eight-country poll found that it’s not migration or terrorism, but climate change, that is seen as the most important issue facing the public right now. That’s why on Friday, the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria and days before a UN Summit on climate change, thousands of people joined the nationwide Climate Strike — the largest climate mobilization in U.S. history. Backed by school districts, businesses, and government officials, the youth-led effort saw people from diverse backgrounds and all generations speak out against indifference and ignorance when it comes to the safety of the planet.
One of the 800 marches planned across the country (with many more in over 120 countries) was in New York City’s Battery Park, where hundreds gathered to advocate for climate justice. The movement was powered mainly by young people, who had been working across youth coalitions and community organizations to rally their communities to take action. The issue of climate change, after all, affects future generations most of all — in fact, another recent poll found that the majority of American teenagers are afraid of climate change. However, people from all races, gender identities, and ages marched to Battery Park in solidarity.
The NYC strike in particular had three core demands: to eliminate fossil fuels, to have a just transition for frontline communities, and to hold polluters accountable. Meeting these lofty demands mainly relies on government action, so people showing up in solidarity large-scale movements like the Climate Strike are key in inspiring action. But since strikes don’t happen every day, it begs the question: What happens when the protestors go home?
Refinery29 talked to women in the crowd to find out what inspired them to join the strike, and the ways in which they personally choose to fight climate change on a daily basis — besides swearing off straws.