Truckee students join global youth climate strike
Inspired by a global movement to encourage action against climate change, students at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School took part in an international student walkout to bring awareness to the issue.
“We’re in a crisis and it’s our future that’s on the line,” said Laurel Anderson, an eighth-grade student who organized the protest. “We all need to take action right now. If we keep going the way we’re going, our future won’t be looking that great.”
At 10:15 a.m. on March 15, around 60 students joined Anderson in walking out of class to stand along a section of Donner Pass Road near the school and wave handmade signs that read “Make America Green Again” and “Take Action Now.”
“It’s really cool because it means they’re really passionate about it too,” Anderson said of her classmates. “I didn’t expect this many people to come. It’s really exciting.”
The group of students stood along the road for 30 minutes chanting “Save the Earth” in unison as passing cars honked their horns and waved.
An ‘eco-conscious’ community
“I knew that we’d get a lot of support from people in Truckee because Truckee is very eco-conscious,” said Anderson.
Anderson organized the walkout as part of a social action project that would serve as her final project for the year.
“We choose something we’re passionate about and take action on it,” she said. “I’m really passionate about climate change — I decided to organize this march.”
Despite the short break the students took from their classes, Anderson said they had the full approval of the administration with multiple teachers in attendance. Anderson’s teacher, Reenie McMains, applauded her for being able to bring all the students together for a good cause.
“She’s a really strong introvert. The last thing she wants to do is to lead a group of people in anything,” said McMains. “But she feels so strongly about this that she was willing to come out of her comfort zone.”
HOW STRIKE STARTED
The global movement began with 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who began protesting outside the Swedish Parliament last year. Soon other teens across the world followed suit which led to the March 15 youth strike.
Anderson said Thunberg inspired hundreds of thousands of kids across the world to demand action on climate change including herself and her peers. According to an Associated Press report, students in more than 100 countries walked out of class on Friday demanding action by their governments to combat climate change.
“These kids are starting to understand that we have to act now,” said Janet Atkinson, a volunteer with Schools for Climate Action who showed up to support the students.
“There is action they can take that will end up in Washington D.C. and influence members of Congress,” Atkinson said, while holding a sign that read “Thank you Greta.”
“If we don’t have them making noise, then many kids won’t even know that this is going to impact their lives,” she said. “This starts to empower them.”
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.