Hundreds marched from Brooklyn Borough Hall to Manhattan’s Foley Square on Friday, March 25, as part of a strike condemning government inaction against climate change. Members of New York City’s chapter of the youth-led climate justice organization School Strike for Climate — also known as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate, Climate Strike or Youth Strike for Climate — hosted the protest. They joined more than 700 demonstrations worldwide on the same day to call on global and local leaders to enact climate reparations for marginalized communities.
“We’re the youth, we deserve a planet, and it’s the old people who aren’t going to be around to see the effects who are making the decisions,” said Sora Borisute, a co-organizer of the New York City strike.
Participants gathered at the borough hall at around 1 p.m. and started marching to the Brooklyn Bridge at 1:45 p.m. Protesters were demanding a permanent end to construction of the North Brooklyn Pipeline, officially known as the Metropolitan Natural Gas Reliability Project. The pipeline spans 7 miles through predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods in East Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
National Grid plc, a multinational gas utility and electricity company based in the United Kingdom, advertises the project as an expansion and improvement of Brooklyn’s natural gas system. Activist organizations, such as the Sane Energy Project — an advocate for 100% community-controlled renewable energy in the state of New York — argue that the project increases the price of gasoline. It also claims the pipeline is a detriment to the health of the environment and residents in the area.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the North Brooklyn project last December, joining other elected officials in asking Natural Grid to cease construction on the pipeline project.
Fridays for Future New York City also called on city and state legislators to pass the “Climate Can’t Wait” New York state package, a collection of 11 Senate bills addressing divestment from fossil fuels and funding for renewable energy projects. The collection of bills includes the Green New Deal for New York — a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance environmental justice in New York state — and an act encouraging public schools to divest from fossil fuels.
Meera Dasgupta, the 2020 United States Youth Poet Laureate, the youngest person ever to hold the title, was one of two climate activists to speak at the strike. Originally from Queens, Dasgupta is involved in climate artivism, the use of art as a form of social advocacy. She attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021 and continues to use her platform to advocate for greater intersectionality in the climate change justice movement.
“Climate justice is inherently rooted in social justice,” Dasgupta said. “The Global South is disproportionately impacted by climate change and the climate crisis, and it is those voices — their lived experiences — which must be included within our movements.”
Dasgupta was joined by SL Franjola, the 15-year-old winner of Fridays For Future New York City’s writing contest. Her poem, titled “Elegy for All of This,” reflected on the climate crisis and its rapid evolution.
Borisute said it was heartening to see many young people attend the strike and added that she felt reassured that the demands of Fridays for Future were heard.
“We hope that the government, world leaders and corporations will pay attention to us,” Borisute said.
Contact Kayla Hardersen at khardersen[email protected]