On Nov. 2, 2018, 12-year-old Sophia Mathur of Sudbury started striking once a month on Fridays for the climate in solidarity with Greta Thunberg in Sweden, who has been nominated for a Nobel Prize for starting the Fridays For Future movement.
Sophia is thought to be the first youth in the Western Hemisphere to join the Fridays For Future movement.
Sophia shared with Sudbury.com her reasons for joining the movement, and tells us about the world she wants to inherit.
Q: What motivates you to fight for change?
A: It always motivates me to think about who will suffer and the people I know and love will get affected by this crisis if we don't do anything. I'm a kid that is living in a world where adults are so protective over their money and can't see what we are going to live through and are living through now. It's sad, because the adults who are making this worse are going to be less affected than us kids.
Q: What will Fridays for Future accomplish?
A: I hope that Fridays for Future will make adults finally realize that we need to act now and take climate crisis as an issue that we need to solve NOW. I want adults to co-operate and listen to the experts — that means the IPCC, the Paris Agreement, the Lancet Countdown and Noble Prize economists.
I am only 12 years old. I can't vote in the 2019 election, nor the 2023 election. Adults are determining my future. Adults must vote for the climate and look at each party's platform before voting.
Q: What could you say to adults who are skeptical of Fridays for Future and skeptical about climate change to convince them?
A: I find that adults who are skeptical of Fridays for Future and skeptical about climate change don't understand the importance of this issue. They are not seeing our point, which is this is our lives that will be affected, and adults are not acting to save our lives.
Q: What kind of world do you hope to inherit?
A: I know I am going to inherit a world changed forever by the climate crisis.
I don't want to inherit the Earth going into an irreversible Hothouse Earth scenario or one where too much carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans make the pH too acidic and kills the ocean algae that produce a lot of the world's oxygen. If earth gets too hot, we die. If the oceans die, we die.
I want a world where I am not afraid of dying because of the climate crisis. This burden is too much for me and all children.
I want to inherit a world where it is not free to pollute and governments can enact good policies based on facts to protect us without worry of them being ripped apart after each election, like what just happened with Ontario's climate policies.
We can feed the world and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our food system. We need to love food and hate food waste. We need to listen to the farmers and help them change our food system. We all need to alter our diets, which includes eating more vegetable-based proteins and much less red meat, cheese and processed foods, which means many Canadians will lose weight and be healthier.
I want a world where the people listen to the experts, co-operate and vote for politicians who will protect us.
I hope you will join me at the Fridays For Future rally and walk for our future on Friday, May 3 at Laurentian University. The final details will be announced soon.
Together, let's show the world Greater Sudbury is a city full of climate champions and is getting ready to face the challenges and opportunities ahead.