As the adverse effects of the climate crisis intensify, many believe governments around the world are responding too slowly.
It is now unlikely that the Paris Agreement target of keeping the rise in global temperatures below two degrees will be met unless there is immediate action taken to prevent further warming.
This episode of earthrise visits those putting themselves on the line and pushing for urgent climate policy reform before humanity reaches a point of no return.
Officially launched in April 2017, the Sunrise Movement was set up in the United States by six young people who were deeply concerned about their future and the effects of climate change. Now they have thousands of supporters, and this number is growing rapidly.
The reason why we have to do this is: It is this bad. We do feel this afraid of our future and we don't know what else to do.
“A number of us young people… were seeing that the hurricanes were getting bigger, the fire seasons were getting longer… but there wasn’t a movement big enough for young people to ensure that we had a habitable planet for our younger generations,” says Sunrise Movement cofounder Varshini Prakash on the birth of the organisation.
With just under $1m raised, the Sunrise Movement has become one of the boldest voices in the national climate debate. earthrise heads to the US to see how this youth environmental movement is getting the attention of big government.
earthrise then travels to the United Kingdom where a different group, formed in 2018, is seeking to make waves by shutting down streets in London. In April 2019, socio-political group Extinction Rebellion is engaging in a 2-week long protest against the British government.
“Look,” says Extinction Rebellion action coordinator Larch Maxey, “There’s a climate crisis, there’s an ecological crisis… we’re here to stop this existential threat that we face. But we are non-violent. We’re maintaining respect and putting ourselves on the line.”
By using civil disobedience that would prompt mass arrests, they hope to force the British government to change its approach to climate change and declare a state of emergency. earthrise is with Extinction Rebellion rebels as they prepare for the upcoming protest and are on the ground with them as it unfolds.