Jamie Margolin, a high school student, speaks during a rally by youth activists and others in Seattle.
Jamie Margolin had not expected to be sitting in her bedroom right now.
The high school senior had prom and graduation coming up, but so much more: A multi-state bus campaign with fellow climate activists.
A tour for her new book.
Attendance at one of the massive marches that had been planned this week for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Then the pandemic arrived in Seattle, her hometown, and her plans went out the window.
Like many other young activists who’ve helped galvanize what’s become a global climate movement, Margolin is not letting a spreading virus stop her.
They are organizing in place, from the United States to Ecuador, Uganda, India and beyond.
And while some fear they’ve lost some momentum in the pandemic, they are determined to keep pushing - and for now, to use technology to their advantage.
Unable to gather en masse as they’d planned this Earth Day, these activists are planning livestreams and webinars to keep the issue of climate front and center on the world stage and in the U.S. presidential race.
One event, Earth Day Live, is being organized by a coalition of youth-led climate groups, including Zero Hour, of which Margolin is a leader (her Twitter profile includes the tag #futurepotus).
As is the case with many other young climate activists, she got involved in the movement taking aim at the fossil fuel industry well before Sweden’s Greta Thunberg became a global household name.
In Uganda, activist Mulindwa Moses says only about a third of the population has Wi-Fi.
Also under lockdown, the 23-year-old graduate student is waiting for his chance to return to planting trees and speaking to his nation’s youth in person.
Like the original founders of Earth Day, he is among those who were first inspired by local issues - which they came to connect with global climate change.
In Ecuador, 18-year-old Helena Gualinga also has had to pause her world travels.
Their fight has been against a government that they believe has given their land too freely to mining and oil companies.
So does Max Prestigiacomo, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, who is set to take his seat on the city council of Madison, Wisconsin.
While fighting the coronavirus has used up much of local government’s bandwidth, he still plans this fall to push the platform on which he ran - for his city to become fully sustainable by 2030.
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Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, founder of Earth Day, said her father would appreciate the determination of this generation, as he did the young people who made the first Earth Day in 1970 a great success.
He came up with the idea of Earth Day, first envisioned as a nationwide "teach-in,” after reading a magazine article about college students’ impact on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Later that same year, the Environmental Protection Agency was born.
Peter Nicholson, who helps lead Foresight Prep, a summer environmental justice program at Chicago’s Loyola University, said the coronavirus crisis only highlights the message that "we are all connected.”
Instead of taking to the world's streets to demand climate action on Friday as planned before the coronavirus pandemic, young activists from about 20 countries took to Youtube to share ideas on how to fight global warming.
Teen climate-change fighter Greta Thunberg aimed her activism at the coronavirus on Thursday, helping launch a campaign with the United Nations to help protect children from the pandemic with the purchase of soap, masks and gloves.
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