Mya-Rose Craig, a Gen Z, feels strongly that adults have failed to take the urgent action needed to tackle global warming and so she has headed to the Arctic Ocean to protest. Armed with a placard reading “Youth Strike for Climate”, this 18 year-old British activist is staging the most northerly protest in a series of youth strikes worldwide.
Craig, a passionate ornithologist and nature, climate and equal rights campaigner, was photographed protesting on an ice floe at the Arctic ice edge, north of Svalbard, earlier this week. She spent about five hours on ice , a spokesperson for environmental organization Greenpeace told the sources.
She also says on her Twitter page that she is the youngest person to have seen half the world’s birds, arrived in the Arctic on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise as part of an expedition documenting the impact of the climate crisis and investigating marine life in the region.
The journey, which started from Norway in early September, was timed to coincide with next week’s United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, where “marine protection should be front and centre to any discussion about protecting biodiversity,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
September 25 was celebrated as a global climate action day by ‘Fridays for Future’, a global strike movement that started in August 2019, when Greta Thunberg, then aged 15, launched her protest against climate change. Many activists all across the world were seen taking active part in the strike.
In a statement issued by Greenpeace, Craig said: “I’m here because I want to see for myself, what’s at stake as this crucial protector of the planet, the Arctic Ocean, melts away at a terrifying rate. Today, myself and Fridays for Future activists from all over the world are standing up to call for urgent action against climate breakdown”.
“I’m here to demand that our leaders come together and create ocean sanctuaries to protect this essential but fragile place and at least 30 per cent off our oceans. There is still time to turn things around towards more sustainable energies and lifestyles, and that moment must be now,” she added.
Craig told the sources that the trip had been a ‘once in a lifetime experience’ in more than one way for her. “It feels like a once in a lifetime experience, not only because it has been an amazing trip, but also because I am hyper-aware that the Arctic is disappearing,” she said.
Craig went on to say “I have been a climate activist for years but now it has really sunk in just how urgent this issue is. Looking out from the ship it was so easy to picture it all slowly melting and disappearing in the coming two decades.’
Earlier this week, scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder said that Arctic Ocean has reached its minimum extent for the year, shrinking to the second lowest extent since record-keeping began in 1978.
Craig, who just finished her High School, is taking a year out before studying politics and international relations at university next year. On why young people like herself and Greta are demonstrating, she told the sources: “I really wanted to convey how, as a young person, I feel incredibly desperate about this issue and I feel it’s extremely urgent.”
“It makes me really angry when politicians and world leaders don’t take action on climate change like it isn’t their future that’s melting down the drain. This movement of young people has been so exciting to me. It has the potential to be revolutionary because protests and strikes like this are finally giving young people a voice. People are finally sitting down and listening to us about how we feel about our future,” she added.
A few days earlier, Craig posted on her Facebook: “It had taken me weeks to travel by road and boat to the Arctic edge to bear witness to the Sea Ice Minimum, the lowest level of ice at the end of each summer. Today, I took part in the most northerly Youth Strike ever, to bear witness to the low ice level and ask you to amplify my voice and those of other young people around the world and demand that our leaders take action now when they meet at the UN General Assembly soon.”