Recently, youth from around the world raised their collective voice by taking part in the Youth Climate Strike to help raise awareness—and demand action—on the important issue of climate change. The Seattle Aquarium was incredibly proud that some of our very own Youth Ocean Advocates took part in the public march that inspired millions in cities all over the world. Below is a firsthand account from Isha Sangani, a Bellevue High School senior and Aquarium volunteer since 2016.
"As a Youth Ocean Advocate at the Seattle Aquarium, I have the opportunity to interact with visitors every week, sharing information about our ocean. My role is to fulfill the Aquarium’s mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment—and in it, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to more visitors than I can count about the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. While I believe that these seemingly small interactions are important in shifting people’s habits, I believe that big, sudden action is important too. That’s why I went to the Seattle Climate Strike on September 20, 2019.
The strike was incredibly empowering, and I left feeling cautiously optimistic about the state of our climate and politics. I was impressed by the creative signs about the ocean and climate change: one said, “The oceans are rising. So are we.” Another said, “Save the pteropods!,” (free-swimming pelagic sea snails)—a sentiment I wholeheartedly support!
What struck me the most was the number of people who were watching. The rally was so large and widely publicized that everyone at my school was talking about the strike. At the march, it seemed that nearly every door was open, every balcony filled. Our collective impact as Youth Ocean Advocates was huge, and it was driven by the passion and effort of many—people like me and the visitors I interact with every week.
I used to feel powerless. I felt that no matter how many people I talked to, the idea of system-wide change wouldn’t happen unless politicians were willing to act. The climate strikes showed me that this isn’t the case—systemic change only happens through the actions of thousands. I also like to think that somewhere in that crowd of demonstrators, there was someone who I might have had a conversation with at the Seattle Aquarium—and maybe it was the guy with the pteropod sign."
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