Eighteen-year-old Xiye Bastida grew up in a small town outside Mexico City, where she saw the effects of both drought and flooding. Then when she was 13, she moved to New York City and learned about the damage Hurricane Sandy caused there.

She realized global warming affects communities all around the world, and felt driven to do something about it.

“When I saw the first global strike being called, I organized my school and I got 600 kids to walk out with me,” she says. “I thought that two kids would walk out with me.”

She says it helped her realize how many other young people are worried and ready to act.

Since then, she’s helped organize weekly youth climate strikes across the city.

Now, because of the coronavirus, youth activists have taken their actions online. A long-planned Earth Day strike is being held digitally, with online teach-ins, virtual gatherings, and social media campaigns.

Whether young people are on the streets or in cyberspace, Bastida says they bring a sense of energy and optimism to the climate movement.

“Not in a way in which you are naive about the situation we are in,” she says, “but just truly believing that when we come together, we can change the world.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.