“Teenagers Fight Climate Change, From the Front -- Meet the Leaders of a National Movement Called Zero Hour," reads the headline. Is it a press release? An opinion piece? No, a full-page “news” story in Sunday’s New York Times, following the same laudatory tone and lack of journalistic rigor that characterized the paper's coverage of the last children's crusade, for gun control.
Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, intern-reporter at the New York Times, orchestrated the fawning interviews of six representatives of the ostensibly teen-led movement at the D.C. offices of the Sierra Club – all participants having no doubt arrived from all over the country by non-polluting means:
Some of them met on Instagram. Others coordinated during lunchtime phone conferences. Most of them haven’t even graduated from high school.
The teenagers behind Zero Hour -- an environmentally focused, creatively minded and technologically savvy nationwide coalition -- are trying to build a youth-led movement to sound the alarm and call for action on climate change and environmental justice.
Zero Hour’s website is headed with an Obama slogan, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” which is certainly a clue as to the left-wing activist bent of the organization.
The story was less a journalistic experience than free full-page publicity for yet another left-wing “climate change” crusade (but without the ideological labels), complete with posed pictures of the six teens [emphasis mine]:
For the last year, a tight-knit group spanning both coasts has been organizing on social media. The teenagers kicked off their campaign with a protest on Saturday at the National Mall in Washington, along with sister marches across the country.
As sea levels rise, ice caps melt and erratic weather affects communities across the globe, they say time is running out to address climate change. The core organizing group of about 20 met with almost 40 federal lawmakers about their platforms on Thursday, and hope to inspire other teenagers to step up and demand change.
“The march is a launch. It isn’t, ‘That’s it, we’re done,’” said Jamie Margolin, the founder of Zero Hour. “It means it doesn’t give them an excuse to be like, ‘I don’t know what the kids want.’ It’s like, ‘Yes, you do.’”
They are trying to prove the adults wrong, to show that people their age are taking heed of what they see as the greatest crisis threatening their generation.
....for the last few years, Ms. Margolin has worked to raise awareness about climate justice issues. A passionate writer, she went through an “op-ed phase,” submitting essays to publications, like one titled “An Open Letter to Climate Change Deniers” published in the monthly magazine Teen Ink.
At a Princeton University summer program last year, she met other teenagers interested in taking action on climate change and created Zero Hour. They began to plan a huge protest in the nation’s capital. On social media, Ms. Margolin espoused factoids and reached out to other young activists.
Yoon-Hendricks let another activist throw in an attack on SeaWorld:
Before joining Zero Hour, Nadia Nazar considered herself mostly an animal-rights activist. When she was 12, she saw a PETA video on slaughterhouses and immediately became a vegetarian.
“I had just gotten a cat,” Ms. Nazar said. “What if my cat was that cow?”
She got her start as an activist by trying to persuade people in her neighborhood not to go to SeaWorld, which has been criticized over its treatment of animals. (“I was slightly successful in that.”)
The Times has always looked to “the children” to save the planet, even back in 1970, although back then the paper’s coverage, while just as promotional, was at least more frank in discussing the left-wing milieu that surrounded such "environmental" crusading.