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Isolationism is deadly. Only global collective action can save us

To tackle the oil and gas giants driving climate change, young people of all nations must act together

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

‘In the US the Green New Deal spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could cut American greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030.’
Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Brexit is reversible. Article 50 can be juggled, delayed, and bounced around until the government decides to reboot and restart the process. In the meantime, another meaningless “meaningful vote” could happen in the next few days – while we ignore the only threat that truly matters.

The effects of climate change are irreversible. That’s why it’s a crisis. The UN’s warning last year lays bare the dangers of this emergency. And these are dangers that we can only attempt to predict, because Earth has never faced a disaster of this nature before: the future is volatile on an unprecedented scale, with famines, floods, and droughts looming over us.

An urgent re-evaluation of our government’s priorities is imperative, morally and fundamentally, for everyone’s sake. The only members of our parliament who seem to have recognised this are the handful who showed up to the climate change debate that followed the last youth strikes. What could have been a revolutionary debate on our future, an opportunity for change and development of our climate policies, was instead just another disappointing instalment in the disheartening saga of government and parliamentary inactivity.

What governments all over the world need to realise is that we still have an opportunity to take action. Nothing is as important as tackling climate change. It is our government’s duty to tackle the air pollution crisis, rapidly switch to renewable energy and make our economy more sustainable. We must take advantage of our connected, global community to create change in climate legislation around the world.

In the US the Green New Deal spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which could cut American greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030, is the very definition of what we must and can achieve as a collective, working together to end corporate climate tyranny. The implementation of similar strategies across the globe, by people united in the aim of saving our planet from ourselves, currently stands as our only solution.

There is strength in numbers. The youth strikes have been a testament to the power of international solidarity. We will face our global environmental demise together – we will fight it together. But the dynamic, unified efforts of my generation to effectively save our planet should not be torn apart by nationalism; that would be an affront to all of us.

We are going on strike because we are desperate to make the changes necessary for our survival. The only way we can is by cooperating with other countries – particularly European countries, our neighbours, friends, and allies – to legislate new, stricter regulations on the greatest polluters and contributors to global warming, namely, the oil and gas giants, that operate across the continent. Leaving the EU will only exacerbate our climate problems, and Brexit is the distraction climate deniers have longed for. To allow our government to play into their hands is a betrayal of ourselves and our planet – and of every young striker across the globe.

The time for isolationism has passed. Instead, as a global collective, we must follow the lead of the younger generations, for their unity is a concrete affirmation of the only option we have left: international action.

Noga Levy-Rapoport, 17, led the London climate strike march on 15 February and has since become a core organiser at UK Student Climate Network


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