‘We want to make a change’: Truckee students participate in global climate strike

Hannah Jones

Donner Pass Road was lined with over 200 Truckee area students and community members calling for action against climate change on Friday. They were joined by a few million protesters around the world who participated in a global climate strike days before a United Nations climate summit.

Passing cars honked and waved at students chanting, “Climate change is worse than homework,” and holding signs that read, “There’s no Planet B” and “Respect our future.”

“I think the most direct way to make a change is to go out in your community and make sure everyone hears you,” said Aili Scott, a Sierra Expeditionary Learning School sixth-grader who coordinated her classmates’ participation in the strike.

Scott said she was following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, who began protesting outside the Swedish Parliament last year. Scott along with teens across the world followed suit.

“She’s my hero,” said Scott. “Last year I saw a video of her and I was just like ‘Wow this girl knows how to use her voice and I want to be like her.’”

In March, around 60 students from Sierra Expeditionary Learning School took part in an international student walkout to bring awareness to the issue leaving their classrooms for about an hour to protest along Donner Pass Road. About 40 of Scott’s classmates stood alongside her, a sight that she said was “mind blowing.”

“At first I thought none of my friends would want to miss recess or sacrifice their time,” she said.


Groups of students from Creekside Charter and Truckee Elementary stood nearby, while Truckee High students held a strike of their own in the school parking up the street.

“I feel like we should take action so we have a good future,” said Esme Roberts, a student at Creekside Charter. She said having community members showing up to the strike in addition to students “means a lot because that means everyone cares.”

Standing behind her were her parents who said they were participating as “concerned community members.”

“You have to amplify your voice. In numbers you gain strength and you gain momentum,” said Heather Roberts, Esme’s mother.

What began as a solo effort by Thunberg, who skipped school to sit outside the Swedish Parliament, led to scores of students protesting across the world. Gatherings were held in major cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York with international strikes held in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Berlin, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. alone was projected to have 800 marches across all 50 states according to National Public Radio.

“We want to make a change,” said Iriel Nava, a sixth-grader at Sierra Expeditionary Learning holding a sign that read “You’ll die of old age; we’ll die of climate change.”

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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