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Youth activists rally against climate change across Arizona

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Youth Climate Strike)

PHOENIX — Dozens of young people rallied and demonstrated in various Arizona cities Friday, demanding city leaders take action to combat climate change.

The actions, dubbed climate strikes, included a sit-in at Phoenix City Hall, a march from Arizona State University to the Tempe Beach Park, and high school walkouts in Tucson. Similar actions are happening every Friday in cities around the world.

Arizona Youth Climate Strike is the group that organized the protests. It’s made up of junior high, high school and college students.

Brian Mecinas, the group’s advocacy director, said they want to pressure city council members “to enact a comprehensive climate action plan as well as declare climate emergencies.”

“There is a very specific timeframe in which we have to act and that timeframe is not long at all,” he said. “So we need a lot of urgent action to be taking place within the next few years to ensure that people my age and younger have the chance to a livable future.”

He said young people like him “want to, as many adults have, live and actually have a chance to breath clean air, drink clean water, have an environment that is not practically being destroyed.”

Mecinas added there are policies that are “detrimental to our environment.” He said these policies “continue to be reinforced and exacerbated by currently elected officials who often either don’t understand the urgency of the crisis or still seek to actively deny the existence of climate change.”

Several Arizona cities already passed climate action plans mapping out how they will prepare for and respond to climate change. Flagstaff city council members were the first to do this in January. Tempe city council members passed theirs in November.

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