Climate Now! Homework Later


COURTESY OF ALLEN LOOMIS AND ROBERTO COTLEAR. Students at Wilcox gathered in the quad to participate in the Youth Climate Strike during sixth and seventh period on the twentieth of September.

Emma Torzec, Op-Ed Editor

“This ongoing irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.” Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg’s powerful words resonate around the world. Recently, Thunberg started the movement we now know as the Youth Climate Strike which took place on the twentieth of September. Since gaining media attention in August of 2018 following her one person climate strike, the Swedish teen has made headlines and been given the opportunity to speak at many grand scale events. She spoke in front of the United States Senate on the seventeenth of September as a part of the Senate Climate Change taskforce, according to The Guardian. She now has a large audience, and with that comes the opportunity for progress.
The Youth Climate Change Strike revealed just how much power a movement can have: students all over the world joined together under different flags and fought for the same cause. Wilcox High School also had a number of students come out during sixth and seventh period that same Friday. Students gathered with colorful handwritten posters and letters to people of power in our government, which students had the opportunity to sign throughout the rally.
Though the issue of climate change has been of concern for many years, it gained a lot of momentum after Greta Thunberg inspired people around the world back in August of 2018. On the immeasurable amount of participants of the September twentieth youth strike, Thunberg voices her approval that, “Millions of people across the globe marched and demanded real climate action, especially young people … we are united and we young people are unstoppable,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though official data has not yet been released, estimates claim that over four million people participated in this strike; throughout 163 countries, 2,500 events were scheduled to protest climate change, according to Vox. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette finds that this movement’s underlying theme is while the adults are in power and making all the decisions—or lack thereof—the youth is ultimately affected by the future state of the planet.
As a part of this global movement, students at Wilcox gathered in the quad and participated in the worldwide movement. They had the opportunity to stand up on the quad stage and read speeches, chants, and poetry. Other students stood in support of their fellow outspoken classmates. The parade of chanting clipboard and poster holding students began in the science buildings as the students from the AP Environmental Science classes made their way out the quad, the chants getting stronger and louder as students left their classrooms and joined in. Junior class president  Gabby Cevallos expressed her passion about the issue through her speech. Cevallos shares, “Hopefully we have educated someone, and we have inspired people to want to research more on this topic.” Cevallos hopes, “By speaking up, going to more protests, and educating myself, my small contribution can make an impact.”
Senior Natnaiel Yishak, an AP Environmental Science student, also took part in the movement. He shares that he is grateful for the support of his fellow classmates who came out on that Friday. “Climate change is the most existential crisis of our century, if we don’t stop problems like pollution, ocean dumping, and countless other problems we face, our grandchildren won’t live in a clean environment,” he explains. Moreover, Mr. Sanders, Wilcox’s AP Environmental Science teacher had fond comments to make regarding the protest, “This was an opportunity to make my current unit of instruction in APES, government, policy making, and sustainability, real for the students by giving them the ability to participate in this global grassroots movement.”
By taking part in Greta Thunberg’s inspiring movement, students all over the world are now motivated to make a difference, to stand up, and demand change from their elected officials. While Wilcox High School is a small dot on the map, we have proved to have a passionate, powerful voice.