Arielle Martinez Cohen is only 17 years old, but she is helping lead the Los Angeles chapter movement for the global Youth Climate Strike.
"I decided to come and strike because we only have 11 years to bring our carbon missions to zero and it seems like no one else is fighting for our futures, so we have to do it ourselves. And that’s what we are doing today," said Cohen.
The movement began in 2015 in response to the UN Climate Conference in Paris and has had continued momentum ever since.
Among many demands, student strikers in L.A. are focusing on the use of 100 percent clean energy, and want to see low income families receive subsidies for green technology.
"You know, climate change will affect more people of color, and people of lower income, and indigenous people, than white people. It’s the sad reality of it. And so while fighting for environmental justice, you can also fight for human rights as well," Cohen explained.
She says seeing her young peers unite together for such a critical cause, gives her confidence about the future.
"It makes me so incredibly hopeful, you know at school we don’t even have a single environmental club. And it seems like something that people don’t usually talk about. But just to see all of these youth coming out, shows me just how many people are in solidarity for this movement, and how many people actually care, which is super exciting," she said.
And ultimately, students are striking because they believe many local humanitarian disasters can be prevented through a more dedicated focus on environmental issues.
"Thousands of people are already dying due to air pollution and resource scarcity, and so many things related to climate change. And even the fires because of the droughts of climate change."
Cohen says she is committed to using her voice until she sees results.