WJ students skip school to protest for the environment


Photo by Lucas Gillespie

Students display their posters at the D.C. climate strike on September 20. Over 4 million students worldwide skipped school on September 20 to demand action on climate change.

Millions of students across the world walked out of school at the end of September to demand action on climate change. Several WJ students attended the rally in D.C., which drew nearly 10,000 people.

The “School Strike For Climate” movement began with Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish activist who began skipping school every Friday to protest in front of the Swedish parliament. Thunberg has protested for the environment on every single Friday since August 2018, and students across the planet have caught on. There have been several global school walkout days, such as the September protest, along with smaller-scale protests happening every Friday in cities around the world.

Photo by Lucas Gillespie
Jansi Medina-Tayac, a student activist from Blair High School, speaks in front of the Capitol.

Senior Miles Carr said he walked out because he feels a responsibility for the planet and for himself.

“Political change is not instant and requires sustained effort,” Carr said. “By repeatedly protesting, we are showing our government what they need to fix in order to stay in office.”

Photo by Lucas Gillespie
United States Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) delivers a speech at the D.C. Climate Strike.

For senior Juliette Bluth, climate change is a personal issue because of the way it has impacted the area of California where she used to live.

“I recently visited California again…I couldn’t even walk on [the beach]. There were plastic bottles, pieces of glass, and other litter everywhere,” Bluth said. “I felt hopeless and alone.”

Bluth said she worries about people and animals losing their homes due to rapid climate change.

“The climate strikes bring awareness to how corruptly the government is reacting to this issue.”

During September, Thunberg traveled across North America not only to attend climate protests, but to speak in front of Congress, to speak at the United Nations Climate Summit and several other events. Her speech for the UN was widely praised by scientists and activists.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!” Thunberg said in her speech. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!