Students from area high schools and their supporters* staged a walkout/demonstration on Friday, March 25th in Olympia to draw attention to the urgency of addressing climate change.
Planned to coincide with Greta Thunberg’s global “Fridays for Future,” Climate Strike, students gathered to demand that Washington State legislators implement more of the Thurston County Mitigation Plan. They stood alongside parents, younger children, and elder community members, some of whom wore blue armbands over their jackets denoting their presence as peacekeepers. Between sporadic chanting, the students voiced their fears of food insecurity, housing disruption, and the economic frustrations that cloud the issue of climate change.
Beneath the awning at City Hall, organization leaders and student activists listened to heartfelt musicians like Lindsey Rhodes and the band Luna Melt, as they shared songs celebrating community and the gifts of nature.
Several students delivered impassioned speeches, notes of gratitude, and calls to action to the growing crowd. A cluster of tables offered pertinent information and a large banner which read “Green New Deal” faced cars driving past on 4th Avenue.
“Climate action is not a choice; it is a necessity. It’s a responsibility that every human must uphold…our devotion is charged by an urgency we were born with; climate angst comes naturally to us…”
Eighteen-year old Ahna Rada said the action came from something far greater than personal intention. “Climate action is not a choice; it is a necessity. It’s a responsibility that every human must uphold… our devotion is charged by an urgency we were born with; climate angst comes naturally to us,” they said. After their speech, Rada referred to the joys of engaging with others to work for change. “I think that is another thing that is really inherent to youth, is that we find ways to make things brighter…
I think that’s a power we need to embrace.”
Another speaker was a young climate activist known as Gus. Gus has held weekly gatherings since he was in first grade. They can still be found every Friday from 4-6 pm by “the kissing statue” at Percival Landing downtown.
The Thurston Climate Action Team holds monthly Zoom meetings for youth climate activists to build community and maintain the communication that builds their movement. More information can be found at www.thurstonclimateactionteam.org.
* Climate Reality Project, Sierra Club, Restoring Earth Connection, Thurston Climate Action Team, Olympia Climate Action, Avanti Climate Action, and Capitol Climate Club had representatives at the strike.