Students participate in nationwide walkout

Samantha Young, Staff Writer

Ten minutes before the end of third period on Sept. 20, dozens of students gathered in front of the high school to raise awareness for global climate change. The school strike was organized by Emma Scharff, sophomore, and led by the Environmental Club, but the original instigator of the protest is Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old climate change activist from Sweden. Many students held signs with messages such as: “This an emergency, act like it,” and “There is no Plan(et) B.” They shouted the phrase, “We demand change. We demand action.”

This strike was a worldwide event with similar strikes happening in such cities as Melbourne, Australia; London, England; New Delhi, India; Mexico City, Mexico, as well as many cities in the U.S. It occurred three days before a United Nations (UN) emergency climate summit in New York, which addressed the need to wean the world from fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions in general. Young people in New York invited youth from other states to join their strike and to join them again for another strike the following Friday.

“Students have a powerful voice that people will listen to,” said Scharff, president of the Environmental Club and organizer of the strike.

Scharff believes that it is important to raise awareness about climate change because our children and future generations will also be affected by this. Scharff isn’t the only person who feels this way.

“We might not have a future and I think it’s really disappointing that politicians and corporations aren’t supporting us,” Alara Stuart, freshman, said. “They don’t understand that it’s a really big issue for us today and that it will also affect them.”

“Saving our planet is not something we can not do,” Sara Betancourt, Spanish teacher, said, showing her support for the walkout.

The global climate change strike was a success in the view of many of the students. It helped raise awareness of climate change to the peers and community of the concerned students. However, some students walked out to get out of class instead of participating in the protest. Some of them walked home.

“If you’re going to be out there, at least behave and respect the purpose of the strike,” Mya Blanks, sophomore, said.

Principal Mike Peoples said that he plans to continue to support the Environmental Club and that as long as the students conduct themselves properly, he will make the climate change strike an annual event.  Peoples said that the walkout is a civil way to bring awareness to a controversial issue.

Students have led walkouts in recent years to protest police brutality against blacks.

“In St. Louis there’s a lot of racial problems but climate change affects everyone, regardless of what you look like,” said Scharff.