PHOTO: Alexandria Villasenor (right) sits next to Greta Thunberg in New York, in front of the United Nations Headquarters.
By Manpreet Kaur,
14-year-old Alexandra Villasenor is an activist and organizer who has taken it upon herself to focus on direct change to combat climate change.
Villasenor came to California to visit family around the time of the Paradise fires. The air quality index was over 300 and she was sent back to New York due to her asthma.
“I was really upset and angry. All my family was there and I was worried about them,” Villasenor said.
As she worried, she researched and found devastating statistics about climate change. Villasenor knew that she had to make a difference.
“I was empowered by watching Greta Thunberg’s speech about climate change,” Villasenor said.
#FridaysforFuture is a movement inspired by Thunberg’s beckoning for change using school strikes. Thungberg encourages strikes in front of city halls, hoping for a difference.
According to FridaysforFuture.org, 131 countries and 1,851 cities participated in strikes on May 24. There will be over 2,400 events taking place from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27, during which millions of students will walk out of their classes and fight for change.
Villasenor has been participating in the movement for the past 40 weeks and looks forward to their biggest expected strike on Sept. 20. “Climate organizing has taken over my life,” Villasenor said.
The strike on Sept. 20 is three days before the climate summit in New York, and Villasenor hopes to be heard. “We won’t have to focus on climate because we would have solved the crisis,” Villasenor said, and that is exactly what she hopes to accomplish.
At a young age, Villasenor knew she needed to make a difference. “I felt the need to stand up for those around me,” Villasenor said.
She knows that not everyone has the privilege of having the time for action. “I want to take direct action for the countries that can’t strike because they are struggling to survive,” Villasenor said.
Villasenor is the founder of a nonprofit organization called Earth Uprising. This organization is committed to educating students about the science behind climate change and most importantly, how to become an activist.
The curriculum is said to be available online for teachers by the end of this year. “So many students are getting involved in activism, it’s important to have protests that are tipping points,” Villasenor said.
Villasenor has led many strikes and hopes to accomplish more.
“Climate change has taken over my life. I don’t really make time for other things, it’s climate first,” Villasenor said.