By AFRO Staff

Climate activists and advocacy groups from all walks of life joined with youth in protest on Earth day, calling for President Biden and White House officials to officially put an end to the use of fossil fuels.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “fossil fuels, or energy sources formed in the Earth’s crust from decayed organic material, including petroleum, natural gas, and coal, continue to account for the largest share of energy production and consumption in the United States.” 

Though the burning of fossil fuels keeps homes warm and motor vehicles around the globe running, the effects on the planet’s wildlife and climate have been extremely detrimental. 

Still, the powers that be are doing everything they can to keep the fossil fuel funds flowing, even if countless animal species–to include humans– are lost in the process.

Ariya Lee, one of the youth organizers of Fridays for Future DC, a ​​global youth-led climate action group, stood in solidarity with other teens and youths currently watching the effects of climate change impact their daily lives. 

“Even as the Earth burns, decision-makers continue to promote the very fossil fuels that are causing the climate crisis,” said Lee, in a statement. “So we have come together in solidarity to say that the era of fossil fuels must end. We are at a time when our window for change is closing. What else is it going to take?”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), burning fossil fuels creates nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere which can lead to more acid rain and smog, making it harder for people to breathe. They also release carbon emissions which trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet and increasing the rate of climate change.

The EPA reports that “the presence of excess nitrogen in the atmosphere in the form of nitrogen oxides or ammonia is deposited back onto land, where it washes into nearby water bodies. These excess nutrients contribute to pollution, harmful algal blooms and oxygen-deprived aquatic zones. Excess ammonia and low pH in these areas are toxic to aquatic organisms and affect their survival.”

According to information released by the EIA, “in 2019, 80 percent of domestic energy production was from fossil fuels, and 80 percent of domestic energy consumption originated from fossil fuels.” 

Nethra Purushothaman, another youth organizer from Fridays For Future DC, said she understands that most people think “climate change is associated with polar bears — but this action is proof of the opposite.” 

“We have people who fight for racial and gender justice, immigrant rights, and housing security coming together. Climate change isn’t just about one event,” said Purushothaman in a statement.  “It is a tangle of all the injustices we face today. Scientists and activists have been saying that we need to take climate change seriously, for years. Yet decision-makers have all but ignored the crisis.” 

Like many youths, who will more than likely live with the increasingly harsh effects of climate change much longer than those contributing to it, Purushothaman is concerned about her future. 

“It is time to address the problem at its root cause — burning fossil fuels,” she said. “This outdated practice has torn our planet up from the inside and will continue to do so. My generation won’t have a home unless we act now. We will need everyone to join this fight because it has always been the people who have achieved justice, and this still holds true — for people and for the planet.”