Do you know why these teenagers are marching this Saturday?
Teenagers all over the States and in London are taking to the streets this Saturday for the first ever Zero Hour March. But what do they want?
Wed 18 Jul 2018
The Zero Hour movement aims to be the central voice for the younger generation who want action over climate change, secure access to natural resources and a commitment from those in power that the environment will stop coming last when it comes to setting out our economic priorities.
Started by Jamie Margolin, a 16 year old in America, it follows the lead of the Women’s Marches across the world and the success of March For Our Lives, in refocusing efforts to assert gun control in America.
The Zero Hour March hopes to bring the same kind of attention to the issue that connects us all, no matter where we live - climate change.
Debuting this Saturday with a main march in Washington DC and sister marches all over the US and Canada - and London, it aims to be the largest youth-led climate mobilisation in history and to remind politicians that the younger generation’s frustration and anger over environmental policies shouldn’t be discounted.
Oscar Glancy, is responsible for bringing the Zero Hour March to London this Saturday. An impressive environmental activist, he’s already petitioned Marks & Spencers to change to sustainable bamboo cutlery (and won) and is taking on Tesco’s over their use of palm oil in own brand products. He’s just 15 years old.
After finding out about Zero Hour through Twitter, he has worked for the last couple of months with a couple of adults experienced in organising marches and the UK’s Youth Climate Coalition to create a Zero Hour March that starts at Euston Square, London. We caught up with him for a quick chat ahead of Saturday’s global action.
What does Zero Hour want to achieve?
Zero Hour aims to bring awareness of the climate crisis to more people than ever before and inspire others to take a more active role and call for climate action and environmental justice.
This means governments and companies taking action on all climatic and environmental issues including reducing global CO2 emissions by divesting from fossil fuels; increasing investment in renewable energy; strict carbon reduction targets being set in law; doing more to encourage plant-based lifestyles and educating youth on the importance of reducing your carbon footprint in schools; educing our excessive use of single-use plastic, ending rainforest deforestation; stopping animal cruelty on all fronts, and preventing loss of biodiversity and species extinction.
These various aims are being conveyed through a series of demands – the US march has formed a ‘manifesto’ that they will hand over to the US government, and the London march organisers have formed a similar set of demands that include law-set aims such as becoming a carbon neutral society by 2040. We will be delivering our manifesto to the British government as a demand for urgent climate action because what we are currently doing is no way near enough.
It will be my generation who are going to be impacted the most by the effects of accelerated climate change that we are causing.
What’s next for Zero Hour post-march?
This is the first year that the Zero Hour march is happening and is going to be happening every year now and hopefully growing much larger. I believe that the US organisers will want to be continue the youth-themed environmental action through various events throughout the year.
Do you think politicians listen to the youth voice?
Personally, I believe that the government does not listen nearly as much as they should to the youth voice as we are seen as children.
However youth can cause huge change, as we have seen with the March For Our Lives movement which has seen many victories regarding gun control in certain states and has reignited the important discussion about gun violence.
In the coming years I think that youth are going to be very important in the fight against climate change as more and more teenagers are awakening to the fact that climate change is happening right now, and that climate change is going to be the defining issue of our time as it is our generation who are going to be seeing the worst impacts of accelerated climate change. Unfortunately the current leaders do not have the foresight nor the will to take the determined action needed to ensure a stable future for my generation and for all the generations that come after me.
The Zero Hour March takes place this Saturday 21 July, from 11am. The route goes from Euston Square to Parliament Square. Click here for more information about the global Zero Hour movement or here for more information about Zero Hour London.