Climate activists march in Chicago

September 21, 2023

Demonstrators chant against big oil and for the future across Jackson Boulevard from the Army Corps of Engineers offices. Photo: Terry Moon/News & Letters.

Youth from across the world mobilized on Sept. 15 to protest political apathy in the face of climate emergency. Hundreds of chapters of the youth movement Fridays for Future held demonstrations. In Chicago, youth and students sang a parody version of the pop song Radioactive calling for the end of fossil fuel use. They led a crowd of several hundred activists of all ages, marching through the downtown Loop—from the headquarters of Chase Bank, a major funder of pipeline construction projects, to the Chicago Board of Trade; the Army Corps of Engineers, which they demanded should stop Enbridge’s Line 5 oil and gas pipeline; and the Federal Plaza.

A 13-year-old girl found an online announcement about the march and attended with her father. She said, “This isn’t just my future or your future, it’s the future of the entire planet and all of the animals living on it.”

Megan Barnhart, member of the Student Environmental Alliance speaks to the crowd at the Federal Plaza. Photo: Buddy Bell/News & Letters

News and Letters Committees also spoke to a young man new to protesting: “A lot of people that actually want change should be going out and doing this kind of thing, which is why I’m out here. I’ve always wanted to do something, but I’ve never done anything. I’ve always hid at the side. So it’s time, for me at least, to be out here.”


Megan Barnhart, a member of the Student Environmental Alliance stood in front of the Federal Plaza crowd as she gave a short speech outlining several things Biden could be doing to avert climate change. “Why, when hurricane after hurricane batters our coasts, when water off the Florida Keys was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and after droughts continue to plague the Midwest, why hasn’t President Biden declared a climate emergency? In 2020 he promised a national transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It’s three years later. What happened?”

By declining to work for the fossil fuels industry or otherwise support it, the people of the world will force their politicians to govern so that planet Earth remains capable of sustaining life.


—Buddy Bell

Participants in the March to End Fossil Fuels of 75,000 people in New York City on Sept. 16. Photo:

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