The world just witnessed the biggest environmental protest the world has ever seen: the Global Climate Strike For Future. On Friday 15 March 2019, in 1,325 cities and towns in 98 countries, hundreds of thousands of children didn’t turn up to school. Instead they took to the streets. And history was made. 

The Fridays for Future movement was started in Sweden by Greta Thunberg: a then 15-year-old schoolgirl and self-professed “climate activist with Asperger’s” who has vowed to strike outside parliament every Friday until the Swedish government’s policies are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement global climate effort. She tells it how it is, no niceties. And the world has taken her lead.

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.” – Greta Thunberg

“I thought I couldn’t make a difference because I was too small”

We spoke to five of the FutureHeroes involved in Fridays for Future Barcelona – and will introduce you to the youth behind the movement at our next Fixing the Future event in June.

Maria, Drew, Joan, Manel and Patricia break down what being part of this movement – and ‘fixing the future’ – means to them…

 

Maria Serra Olivellla, 16

“I am scared and angry”

I’m a 16-year-old student representing the high schools from Barcelona. I define myself as a teenager with quite a lot of interests and worries, mainly about the world around me. Right now I’m studying science, but my passions are helping people, or taking care of them – and activism. I would like to work as a doctor or a nurse, and I want to be an activist for human and environmental rights, I just can’t stand doing nothing about the world around me.

The ultimate aim of Fridays for Future Barcelona right now is the declaration of the climate emergency state in Spain. We truly believe that we are in an exceptional time in history, our planet is dying because of us and we only have 11 years to stop it. We think that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge it, we want to government to publicly say that we are in an emergency state and that we need to take action.

Why have you joined Fridays 4 Future?

I’ve joined because I am scared and angry. I want a future and this is the only way to have one. I am incapable of not taking action about what worries me.

What message do you want the world to hear? 

I want the young generations to know that this isn’t a joke, and it isn’t getting better by itself anytime soon. Either we take action, or our future will be nightmarish. And I want the older generations to know that this is everyone’s fault and it isn’t just your kids that will suffer the consequences of it, in eleven years, you will be alive

What made you start protesting for climate activism?

I always had an interest in the environment, but when it became a global emergency I immediately thought that I needed to do something about it. Fridays 4 Future is such a great tool for doing so.

My greatest fear is that we won’t be fast enough to stop this, I am so scared that I won’t have a planet to live on by the time that I am 30-years-old.

One of the things that I enjoy the most as a normal teenager is dancing and the wonderful people that I have next to me fighting for the climate.

Fixing the future means stopping climate change right now and start living in a way that doesn’t hurt the planet, and that comes with changing the way we live our lives right now, because it is too late to think that it won’t affect us.

My FutureHero is a person that has really inspired me throughout my life. Malala Yousafzai is an activist for girl rights in Pakistan. I remember doing a presentation about her in elementary school and just being so stunned about everything she has archived at such a young age.  She believes that girls have the right to go to school, I agree and I think that it is such an important issue. The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge it, if you don’t know about the problem; you can’t fight against it. Education is the tool to every social movement.

 

Drew, 18

“Systems change, not climate change!”

I’m currently studying design in Barcelona. I consider myself to be empathetic, creative and very conscious of the world’s issues. I’ve been attending to protests since I was in High School because I firmly believe, we, the youth, can make a difference.

Why have you joined Fridays 4 Future? 

I’ve always been really conscious about climate emergency. After November’s climate march in Barcelona, a group of young people decided to create Fridays for Future in Barcelona and I thought it would be a great way to make a change.

What message do you want the world to hear?

Systems change, not climate change!

What made you start protesting for climate activism? 

As a citizen of Barcelona I’m very aware of pollution and climate emergency and their effects in the city. I’m really worried about the consequences they will have in the near future.

My greatest fear is seeing how Planet Earth dies and not being able to do anything about it.

My greatest joy is being able to make a change in today’s system, so that we can take care of the world properly!

Fixing the future means a big challenge for us but it’s something we really need to do.

 

Patricia Lorenzo, 18

“We need you to care”

I am a creative and perfectionist girl who currently studies at University to become a teacher. I want to make the world a better place through my actions. I fight for what I believe in and I write a lot – words are my defense weapon.

Why have you joined Fridays 4 Future?

I joined Fridays 4 Future because I cannot bear the idea of not finding a solution for the current climate problem. I cannot stay quiet. I need to do something about it.

What message do you want the world to hear?

We need you to care. If you are not part of the solution, you are contributing to the problem. Our planet does not have a voice, so we need you to speak for it.

What made you start protesting for climate activism?

I realised that my friends did not care about climate change, that they did not believe how enormous this issue is. I want to open their eyes.

My greatest fear is reaching a point of no return, in which no solution will be available.

My greatest joy would be all of those gifts that nature gives us, a breeze, sunshine, that special beach.

Fixing the future means standing up for what we believe in and refusing to accept the horrors ahead of us. I recently found an online store called Flamingo’s Life. It is a brand that uses plastic materials fond in the sea to make trendy sneakers. For each pair that is bought, they are even planting five trees.

 

Joan Panadès Turró, 20

“Change comes from the individual”

I’m from Castellar del Vallès, Catalonia. I study Environmental Sciences, and the environmental movement has been part of my life since four years ago. I identify ideologically as a pacifist ecoanarchist. My friends really inspire me with their projects, most of which are environmental.

Why have you joined Fridays 4 Future?

I think that the change comes from the individual, who get ideas that can make change from bigger ideological movements.

What message do you want the world to hear? 

Invest your time in your mind because those are the only things that belong to you.

What made you start protesting for climate activism?

Getting some information about environmental problems in general.

My greatest fear is to forget what I have lived, and my greatest joy is that happiness exists.

Fixing the future means making it able to exist for us.

 

Manel Moliner, 18

“The world is not ours alone”

I was born in Barcelona and ​right now I’m studying Biotechnology at the UAB. I am vegan. I started to get into this social movement a few months ago to inform myself about politics.

Why have you joined Fridays 4 Future?

It’s the kind of vindication and movement that I had always sought.

What message do you want the world to hear?

I want people to see that the world is not ours alone and it is our responsibility now, therefore we are in charge of recovering it.

I started to protest about climate change because the planet has places, plants and animals that are going to be destroyed because of us.

What I like the most about the planet is the amount of secrets that it hides, that even though science advances, it remains hidden.

What I find more terrifying are natural disasters, full demonstration of how helpless we are.

Fixing the future means becoming aware of the individual, the collective and our responsibility with what surrounds us. I am very impressed by projects that work with nature in our daily life and new lifestyles: creating urban gardens, green houses, would be examples of this.

📍AtlasAction ► Tweet your pics to @atlasfuture @gretathunberg with your location and the hashtags #Fridaysforfuture #Climatestrike  – and we’ll feature them on the Atlas.  

📍AtlasEvent ► Sign up to AtlasNews to be the first to hear about tickets and speakers, such as the F4F BCN youth. Meet them at Fixing the future 2019 in Barcelona.