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Episode Info: Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:via Apple Podcasts | via Stitcher | via NPROne | via Spotify   I met Ana Ostrovsky at a big Climate Strike event in March of 2019. Thousands of students cut school and gathered in downtown San Francisco to show their solidarity with the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. It was one of 2,300 such strikes held in 130 countries that Friday. At the time, Ana was a senior at Terra Linda High School. She looked like a hippie child, wearing loose striped pants, a yellow crop top and sandals. She was sporting a sign that read: “What I Stand For Is What I Stand On.” Ana is a seasoned climate protester and activist, so much so that she almost decided not to attend that particular climate strike — she was getting a little tired of protesting. But, ultimately, she decided she wanted to be in solidarity with other young people around the globe. “I think it’s a super powerful moment,” Ana said. “Especially because people understand the [climate] science more now … and that’s exciting, because everyone wants a place to live that is clean and healthy.” Ana started her environmental activism younger than most — in first grade. That’s when she learned that polar bears were dying as climate change threatened their habitats. Ever since, she’s believed passionately that her purpose is to save the Earth. That feeling is even more powerful now that Ana is 18, on the cusp of adulthood. “If no one else is going to do it, then we’re going to make the change that we want to see in the world,” she said. In the last few years, young people have been demanding to be heard about the issues that matter most to them. After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students planned and delivered what some called the largest student protest since the Vietnam War. Crowd estimates ranged from 200,000 to 800,000 at the Washington, D.C., March for Our Lives, and hundreds of thousands more participated in the 800 sister protests held all over the country and the world. Some of the most impactful speeches at the March for Our Lives were from student survivors. “When people try to suppress your vote, and there are people who stand against you because you’re too young, we say: ‘No more!’ ” shouted Parkland survivor David Hogg that day. His message, specifically about changing gun laws, encapsulates the urgency a lot of young people are feeling about a number of issues that affect their lives and their futures. Students are staging school walkouts to protest immigration policies, striking in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, supporting their teachers during their own school strikes for better contracts, and staging Black Lives Matter protests. “These are young people who have been affected by these issues, these are youth who are concerned about their safety, their future,” said Jesica Fernandez, a Santa Clara University professor who studies youth movements. “They pres...
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