Students Rally for New Climate Change Policies

Students+Rally+for+New+Climate+Change+Policies

by Jessica Flohr
As the effects of climate change continue to impact people worldwide and many governments continue to do little to curb carbon emissions, the youth of the world have taken matters into their own hands. FridaysforFuture is a movement that was kickstarted by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. Thunberg, a well known environmental activist, began protesting outside Swedish Parliament every Friday instead of attending school in order to pressure the government into taking action. Her movement has grown exponentially since its inauguration, in part due to the stress youth feel about the rising global temperature due to carbon emissions and the ever shortening amount of time there is to prevent permanent damage. Senior Hannah Davis shared that she feels “frustrated more than anything” as “our world is heading towards a tipping point and people don’t understand the gravity of the situation.”
This frustration is felt by many, so from September 20th to September 27th, about 7.6 million students in more than 150 countries participated in the global climate strikes as a part of Global Week for Future. With the first protest occurring just three days before the United Nations Climate Summit, the idea was to pressure governments into reducing their own nation’s carbon footprint through legislation. 
It was clear from the full hallways and long lunch lines between the dates of September 20th and September 27th that many students chose not to participate in the climate strikes. Despite being an environmentally conscious school, students chose to remain in class instead of fighting for governmental action. Junior Maya Gray, one of the heads of Green Club, elaborated on this, sharing that she thinks that the lack of participation in the strikes comes from “people [being] too lazy or [having] too much work.” Maya, who did not attend the strikes herself, stated that “when [she] starts to think about” the climate strikes “in terms of the bigger picture, [her] reasons for not going seem really insignificant.” However, Gray argues that an important part of this movement is to make “personal changes” to one’s own environmental practices, as it is not “possible for [her]” and most others to attend all the strikes.
As these strikes continue to increase in number and attendance, it is possible to conclude that governmental powers and nations still have a long way to go in order to make a difference. It might seem like nothing is making an impact, but according to Maya, the “climate strikes are effective because they force people to listen, even when they don’t want to. As protests get bigger and bigger, reporters will need to write articles about them and then the changes will really start to happen.” And whether you are showing up to the protests, empowering other people, or examining your own life to see how you can improve your carbon footprint, even the smallest actions can make an impact.