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Children: Our future and our present The DC Climate Strike 2019

While we might say children are our future, they are taking action now, in our nation’s Capital. In honor of Climate Week, a number of events have been held around the world to bring awareness to the issue of climate change. Globally, children, like the famous 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, are taking a major lead in speaking out and getting involved for their future. Many of these children are participating in school strikes for climate change where they are missing school to highlight the severity of the issue of climate change for their future. (Photo: Deepti Bansal Gage)

But that does not mean these youth activists are not learning—a number of school children in Washington, D.C., attended the World Resources Institute (WRI) Climate Strike Teach-In, led by WRI Climate Program Communications Officer Beth Elliott. (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

According to Elliott, the WRI Climate Strike Teach-In was an event “inspired by the ‘teach-ins’ that occurred during the Vietnam war protests where local schools and organizations held classes to teach and support the children of the protests.” (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

WRI held this teach-in in response to the number of children in D.C. who went on strike for the climate in order to provide them a space near the protests to learn. The teach-in featured relatable discussions on a number of climate change topics and included references to pop culture, movies, and international treaties like the Paris Agreement. (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

One of WRI’s directors also answered questions from the student attendees on topics including carbon capture, electric vehicles, affordability of green technology, food waste, and sustainable building materials. (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

Other discussions from WRI employees included the power of data, including tools like www.resourcewatch.org, which can be used by adults and children to identify climate issues and guide how to take action. (Photo source: Resourcewatch.org)

After the event, children marched on the Capitol with the knowledge gained and the colorful signs created at the Teach-In. (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

Beyond protesting, children are taking a lead in having their voices be heard by lawmakers and the government in D.C.

Brother and sister duo, Astrid and Sebastian, have started a movement to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on animals by encouraging children to speak up and meet with legal experts on animal and climate change issues. Astrid said, “Although I want to help save animals by becoming a veterinarian, I can’t do that right now because I’m a kid. But right now I can help by being a voice for the animals.” The family hopes children will play a role in informing legislators of the importance of climate change. (Photo with parental permission by: Deepti Bansal Gage)

In addition to legislation, children are taking their case to court. A series of cases have been brought by Our Children’s Trust, a group of U.S. children and teens. The case is brought against the U.S. government alleging that the government, as the trustee of the nation’s natural resources, has been deliberately allowing pollution and climate change to occur for over 50 years, thereby violating the children’s substantive due process rights to life, liberty, and property as discussed in Juliana v. U.S.. While the judicial initiative has had mixed success, the children have still been actively trying to make legal change on climate change policy a reality. (Photo by: Deepti Bansal Gage)