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CBSN Originals featured Pace Seidenberg student Jerome Foster in "Inside Gen Z's fight for climate change action"

10/27/2020

CBSN Originals featured Pace Seidenberg student Jerome Foster in "Inside Gen Z's fight for climate change action"

REVERB is a documentary series from CBSN Originals. Watch the latest episode, "Generation Climate." 

Jerome Foster II says he first became aware of climate change when he was 6 years old. By the time he was in sixth grade, he was talking about climate change at the lunch table with his friends. Like many of his generation, Jerome has grown up with a visceral understanding that he will face the consequences of a changing climate during his lifetime.

"We are racing against time," he said, pointing to the findings of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "The report says we have 11 to 12 years before we reach key tipping points in our climate system before we start to see increased disasters like we're seeing now" — disasters like the record-breaking wildfires raging in the West.

"If we hadn't skipped school, would they have just continued to ignore us? If we hadn't had 11 million young people in 140 countries come out and strike, would they not care about the future?" Jerome asked.

He's continued to organize and founded an international youth voting and advocacy organization called OneMillionOfUs. Its goal is to register one million young voters for the upcoming 2020 presidential election and beyond.

"Hope comes from action, and hope comes from elected officials actually taking these things seriously," he said. And as Jerome prepares to cast his first vote, he hasn't given up hope.

"People are still underestimating these [youth] votes, but you can't underestimate us," he said. "Young people have always been leaders of change. We've always been out in the streets. We've always been pushing the envelope because we want our future to be better."

"People keep saying our children's children will see the consequences of climate change, but that was 50 years ago. We're the children."

Now an 18-year-old college freshman, Jerome grew up in Washington, D.C., and interned for the late Congressman John Lewis. During his internship, he started weekly climate strikes in front of the White House and helped organize the 2019 Global Climate Strike that brought young people around the world out of their classrooms and onto the streets to demand action on climate change.

Read the CBSN Originals article and watch the documentary.