Global Climate Strike

“Why are you here?” asked the four-year-old who wandered to our table at the Global Climate Strike Friday in Lithia Park.

“Because I want to make sure you have a place to live when you grow up,” I replied.

Bemused, she looked me over to see if I was pulling her leg, then ambled away.

The middle school and high school students ten+ years her senior who marched that morning have no illusions about the urgency of their mission. We at Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), and the 20 partner groups backing the strike, gathered in the park to support the students in their quest for a sustainable world.

Nearly a hundred high school, middle school, elementary school, and even a preschool class marched to the plaza that morning. Two fourth graders, among others, spoke. They were joined by their peers in more than 150 countries participating in 2,500 events in the largest peaceful demonstration in history.

Tonya Graham, executive director of Geos Institute, told the gathering of more than 350 people at the bandshell, “We must act now.” Several musicians, including cellist Daniel Sperry, performed. Sen. Jeff Golden and Rep. Pam Marsh worked their way through the crowd. It was mellow, but with a sense of urgency.

Worldwide, there were demonstrations in Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. According to MoveOn, 4 million people participated.

This was all prelude to the Climate Action Summit today (September 23) in New York City supported by 2,000 scientists and Patagonia and Seventh Generation, among other sponsors.

It all began in August of 2018 when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest the lack of action on the climate crisis. She founded Fridays for Future, and students all over the world began protesting, demanding that their governments take action to implement the Paris Climate Accord.

Addie Greene, Ashland