On September 20, nearly 4 million young people in more than 150 different countries skipped school to demand climate action from their leaders. This action was part of a growing movement to hold the world accountable for the inevitabilities of the climate crisis, which will be felt most strongly by the youngest generation.

As young people rise up through frustration and grief, older generations look to young activists for hope.

This three-part series explores the lengths that Florida youth are willing to go to push adults, lawmakers and governments past an endless cycle of treading water.

Part I: Blame it on the Youth

As young people learn about the impacts of climate change, they have the power to change the attitudes of their parents. Meanwhile, adults who are painfully aware of the existential realities of the climate crisis learn new ways to cope with their growing despair. In Part I of Treading Water, we explore the allure of young activists in the age of eco-grief.

Part II: “We Don’t Want Your Hope, We Want Your Panic”

Young people are suing their policymakers for violating their constitutional rights. Their complaints allege that governments have known about the dangers of climate change for 50 years, yet have continued to promote fossil fuel energy systems, which contribute heavily to climate change. In Part II of Treading Water, we examine how such lawsuits are contributing a new legal landscape for the rights to a stable climate.

Part III: The Seas Are Rising and So Are We

Today’s youth have already become disillusioned with our power structures. Loss and trauma will define their coming-of-age stories, and they are holding their leaders accountable for action on the climate crisis. They are the ones who stand to lose everything. In Part III of Treading Water we echo the urgency and stand by the most important crisis of our time.