Global Climate Strike comes to CHS


On Friday, Sept. 20, at 11 a.m., hundreds of Community High School (CHS) students will leave their classes and meet on the front lawn. Together, they will walk to Ingalls Mall to protest the government’s inaction around the climate crisis.

“I think the only way we’re going to get our voices heard is by telling people in power that this is important,” said Martha Ribant, a junior at CHS. “All politicians ever want to do is get reelected. And if they’re able to say that the people who are going to be voting for them next are walking out of schools because they think this is important, and are taking penalties because they know how crucial this is, they will listen to our voices.”

The rally itself will start at noon, after a set of live performances—including one by the Left Lanes, a popular student band. Afterwards, a series of speakers will discuss the strike’s demands as people of all ages watch and listen in support.

“This is our world, and we’re going to have to live in it, so I think it’s important to speak out about the issues,” said Lucy Cassell-Kelley, a ninth grader at CHS. She is not alone in this concern. At the most recent climate strike, many students carried signs bearing slogans such as “there is no Planet B” or “why study for a future we won’t have?” This upcoming strike has similar motives to the last one but with clearer goals and a more organized agenda.

An expected 10,000 people will attend demanding a Green New Deal, respect of indigenous land, environmental justice, protection of biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture.

“It’s our Earth, our climate. [Climate change] will make such a big impact on our lives,” said Mali Chappell-Lakin, a CHS junior. “If we don’t do something soon to change how we’re treating our climate, it will have devastating effects.”

Following the rally, protesters are invited to attend a series of workshops intended to further educate those motivated to fight the climate crisis.

“I think [strikes] are important for garnering awareness, but the next steps have to be taken too,” said Smith. She cited ”contacting their local and higher government officials, making changes to their own lifestyles, and encouraging others to make changes in their lifestyles” as possible ways to fight the climate crisis outside of protests and walkouts.

This rally comes at the beginning of a full week of climate strikes — organized in part by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg — taking place across the globe.

“If people are striking all over the world, [the government] can’t just ignore that, they can’t just brush it aside,” said Chappell-Lakin. “This shows that a bunch of people really care about this issue and that it needs to have more attention than it has.”

The goal of strikes such as these is not to get high school students out of class, but to make our voices heard in the only way we can. Most of us are too young to vote, but we can protest and show politicians and corporations that we care. After all, we are fighting for our futures.