SEATTLE — A group of people from Washington state are part of a global movement urging action on climate change.
They say the forceful words of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, age 16, during the U.N. Climate Action Summit Monday added momentum to their efforts.
“We have to step up because no one is stepping up for us,” said Kiran Oommen, a Seattle 22-year-old who is among several people suing the federal government. Their lawsuit alleges actions that cause climate change violate the younger generations constitutional rights.
Oommen said Thunberg's words resonate with young people around the world.
“Many of us have this realization that we're not safe and the people in power continue to make decisions to make us even less safe,” Oommen said.
Jamie Margolin, a Seattle teenager, testified before Congress last week alongside Thunberg.
“The shellfish, salmon, orcas, and all of the beautiful wildlife of my Pacific Northwest home are dying due to ocean acidification caused by the climate crisis,” Margolin said during her congressional testimony.
Margolin is at the U.N. Climate Action Summit and is among a group of young people suing the State of Washington over climate change.
Oommen said this message is only getting more urgent as young voices rise.
“So often I give talks and people are excited, people congratulate me and say, ‘oh, it's so good the work you're doing,’ I don't want to be congratulated, I want you to join us,” Oommen said.
Youth climate activists gathered at the United Nations on Saturday for the Climate Action Summit, just a day after hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets for a global climate walkout.