One of the major roadblocks impeding the fight against climate change in the United States is political. Largely, the people in power are older and more privileged than the average citizen, which means they have less of an incentive to care about the climate. Why should they care about what planet they leave behind when they’re gone? This is exactly why it’s incumbent on the younger generation to take control—and according to the New York Times, they’re starting to do so.

A group of American teenagers has banded together to form Zero Hour, a nationwide coalition with a focus on protecting the environment for the long haul. These teenagers formed a next-generation alliance using next-generation methods, with many of them meeting up via Instagram and other social media networks. They now have a team of climate activists spanning from coast to coast, and they’ve organized major events including a march on the National Mall in Washington. They’re optimistic they can inspire other teenagers to step up and fight the climate change battle.

“In our generation, when we talk about climate change, they’re like: ‘Ha ha, that’s so funny. It’s not something we’ll have to deal with,’” said Nadia Nazar, art director for Zero Hour. “‘Oh, yeah, the polar bears will just die, the seas will just rise.’ They don’t understand the actual caliber of the destruction.”

In 2018, we’ve seen significant momentum behind the idea of young people organizing to rally for political change. The Zero Hour youngsters followed the lead of the Parkland school shooting survivors who organized the nationwide March for Our Lives rallies to protest gun violence earlier this year; using that same template, they’ve been able to raise money, get attention and rally people behind their cause

Some time ago, the establishment may have thought young people weren’t capable of effecting real change; now, though, that is clearly an outdated way of thinking.

“We flipped the scenario as the underdog,” 16-year-old Zero Hour organizer Jamie Margolin said. “We’ve proven ourselves. We are on the verge of something amazing. We’re going to change history.”

Photo by Rena Schild /