NEW YORK — With her signs by her side, 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor has set up shop at a bench outside the United Nations headquarters for the last 10 Fridays.
What’s the reason behind her weekly ritual, one might ask.
“Climate change will affect my generation the most, it’s as simple as that,” she told PIX11 News.
The 7th grader who has skipped Friday classes since December, fending off rain and even the Polar Vortex, says she’s tired of waiting for world leaders to act on climate change.
She’s now taking matters into her own hands, designating Friday as a day to strike.
“They don’t think about their children, how their children or nieces or nephews will be affected,” she said, referring to the world leaders who are not doing enough. “They’re thinking about themselves.”
Villasenor is leading the charge not only in New York City but across the country, mobilizing teens to strike for climate. It’s a movement that’s already taken shape with students overseas.
Villasenor says she was inspired by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden who launched a similar protest campaign last year. In December, she was invited to a global conference where she delivered a scathing speech to world leaders.
“You say you love your children above all else and yet you were stealing their future in front of their very eyes,” she said, addressing the stunned audience.
Whether it be wind, rain or snow, Alexandria will be reporting for duty outside the UN for the next few Fridays. It all leads up to what will be a global event next month.
On March 15, hundreds of thousands of students from across the United States and from over 40 countries will strike in solidarity for the “Youth Climate Strike.”
The children will be joined by the world’s largest environmental groups.
With experts warning that the planet has till 2030 before we see catastrophic climate change, the “thoughts and prayers” politicians usually peddle will no longer be an option.
“Without action their day-to-day lives won’t be how they are now and they need to start striking,” Villasenor said.