Youth group demands the phase out of all fossil fuels

On September 16, youth-led climate change justice group, Fridays For Future, gathered on the cross streets of Blackstone and Nees and demanded government officials to take responsibility for their contribution to climate change.

Holding their hand-made signs, they walked each corner of the cross street in an attempt to grab the attention of those within the community, stopping briefly at each corner to share testimonials.

They demanded a rapid and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels due to their damaging effects on the Earth caused by pollution, as well as causing illnesses that lead to death. The phase-out process would implement sustainable energy saving sources to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used. These sources included the use of wind power, solar energy, bioenergy, and hydroelectric.

Ultimately, Fridays For Future’s goal is to end the era of fossil fuels entirely.

“I believe in fighting for a greener, more sustainable world to preserve our Earth for future generations,” said Lola Poerzgen. “I want to leave a livable world behind for those who come after us, so humanity can survive.”

This protest also demanded reparations for the damages caused in marginalized and disadvantaged communities caused by the climate crisis. Those financially struggling are at such a great disadvantage because they are unable to implement energy saving sources to reduce pollution within their community.

“The San Joaquin Valley is at the frontline of the climate crisis,” said Ava Serrato. “About 95% of oil drilling in California happens here in the Valley.”

“Millions of residents in our community already struggle with water insecurity and the worst air quality in the United States, but our continual dependence on fossil fuels only aggravates these conditions,” Serrato continues.

This strike was not simply an event to hang out with friends or do something on the weekend. These proud youth members have an important world changing goal.

“Our future is in the hands of the younger generation now, and we can’t stand by and watch our future burn,” said Stella Davies.

Climate change is to blame for the wildfires and excessive temperature rises. Southern California suffered record-breaking heat waves during the summer. Cities that normally stayed within the two digits heat levels were experiencing heat set at triple digits. Due to the abnormality of the rising heat, Los Angeles implemented cooling locations for their residents to escape the dangerously high temperatures.

“It may seem like individuals can’t do anything to actually save our planet, but together we can make a real difference,” Poerzgen said. “Start small because every action counts towards saving our home.”

Serrato agreed, and shared this message:

“This strike is only one part of what Fridays for Future does. We’ve joined in on statewide lobby days, taken part in several global climate strikes, and helped climate bills be passed into California law. We’re here to make our voices heard and bring positive change in our community. If you’re interested in fighting for our futures and the futures of those who come after us, don’t be afraid to join – there’s a place in the climate movement for everyone.”

If you’d like to learn more about climate change injustice or want to become a member of Fridays For Future, you can follow them on Instagram at @fridaysforfuture.fresno

Alexis Zuniga (she/her/hers)

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