Bow Seat Joins the Global Climate Strike
September 18, 2019

by Alyssa Irizarry, Senior Vice President

On Friday, September 20th, millions of young people and adult allies around the world will come together for the Global Climate Strike, kicking off a week of actions focused on climate justice and an end to the age of fossil fuels. With events in every U.S. state and more than 100 countries, the largest climate mobilization to date demonstrates that millions of us are united in sounding the alarm on the urgency of the climate crisis, in demanding action from politicians, and in moving forward together with creative, science-driven, and just responses to the climate emergency.

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs is a proud partner of the Boston Climate Strike, and will be striking in solidarity with the thousands of empowered youth whose actions over the past year have woken up much of the world to our planetary emergency. Young people, who make up more than half of the world’s population, are growing up in a new climate reality and will be enduring its increasing threats for their entire lives, yet their voices have historically been left out of conversations, decisions, and policies being made about our collective future—much to our detriment.

It’s time we listen to the voices of youth, Indigenous peoples, and people of color living and fighting on the frontlines of environmental harm and extractive practices, whose leadership is needed to guide a resilient, equitable, and transformative way forward.

“Wake Up” by student Seon Kim, age 18, Vancouver, Canada

For nearly a decade, Bow Seat has been listening to youth share their concerns about the declining health of our oceans, as well as their ideas, fantasies, and hopes for what a better, cleaner, and safer world might look and feel like. We work to uplift these voices by offering educational experiences that help students all over the world connect with the ocean; providing platforms across digital and physical spaces for young people to vividly imagine a sustainable future; and empowering young leaders to use their art, stories, and visions to guide multigenerational action on personal, community, and policy levels.

“Carrying the Weight of the World on Her Back” by student Jayne Steele, age 14, Pennsylvania

We are committed to fostering ocean-conscious creators and changemakers who are using the power of creativity and imagination to bring people together to care for our shared planet and act for a climate-safe future. In honor of the climate strikes, and inspired by the feedback we’ve received from program participants that creating artwork in response to learning about climate change made them feel overwhelmingly hopeful, Bow Seat’s 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, launched this week, is Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis.

Climate hope is grounded in personally and collectively remembering and restoring a respectful relationship with this blue planet and all of its inhabitants, human and non-human. It does not rely solely on optimism, and being hopeful does not mean you cannot also feel concern, confusion, frustration, or despair. In fact, a typical day for anyone who cares about the future of this living world probably cycles through all of these. Much like the youth movement leading the way, climate hope is inclusive, visionary, adaptable, and active.

On Friday, we will be marching in the streets, energized by the youth beside us, and driven by hope of the bold, incredible things that are possible when millions around the world come together to reimagine, restore, and re-story how we rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.

We invite you to join us, wherever in the world you may be reading this. Every person, every action, matters. Together, we’re creating a better, bluer planet.


The 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis,” is free to enter and open to students ages 11-18 worldwide. Submissions are accepted in Visual Art, Film, Interactive & Multimedia, Music, Poetry, and Prose. Click here for more information, resources, and to submit online.

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Bow Seat Joins the Global Climate Strike