Voices from Chicago climate strike–December 2019

Climate strike die-in at Chicago’s Cloud Gate, Dec. 6, 2019. Photo for News & Letters by Franklin Dmitryev. More photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/29775879@N06/sets/72157712106622281/

Chicago—Climate change is happening. We know the deadline, we know we have to deal. I’m going to be here because no one else is going to be. It has to be us. I left school. I had stuff to do today. But what if I didn’t? What if I came here? Because this is more important.

What happens without change is simple: we’re going to see economic contraction, we’re going to see thousands if not millions of people displaced. There’s going to be a great humanitarian and economic crisis if we don’t deal with stuff right now. We have to do it. There’s no option.

I was here for the climate strikes in September and March as well

I do feel hope for what this movement can achieve. The fact that they’ve been able to get people out here repeatedly shows that there’s a continuing civic engagement amongst young people, which is what really needs to happen. We’re going up against billions of dollars—fossil fuel industries and big money in general—and the only way to beat big money is bigger crowds. The fact that people keep coming out here month after month to do this shows that people are engaged and ready to do the work that we have to do.

With every UN report, it gets worse. The report last year said we have 12 years. Every report shows we have less time to solve the problems and the current administration keeps rolling more stuff back. It’s why it’s so important to knock on doors, and make sure you vote in 2020. This is the most important election of our lifetimes. If we don’t change who’s in charge now, then we’re never going to have a chance.

You can’t be passive or just be on social media. You can’t just come out to something like this. You have to keep working. It doesn’t end on Twitter. It doesn’t end here at the strike right now.

–High school student

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Chicago—I’m 15. If we don’t fight for our futures now, then we’re not going to last. I want to see more politicians believe in the youth. We’re trying to fight for a green new deal and to make sure that we can have futures. I am on strike from Deerfield High School today, along with several friends.

I’m part of the Illinois youth climate strike team, where we have an amazing leader and a lot of people on our core team. We’re really excited that we got to have this opportunity to strike.

We had a few actions in October and November. Usually we come to the city.

–High school student

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Chicago—The climate emergency is a serious matter. Like N&L said, “Demanding a future, youth lead fight for climate justice” (July-August 2019 N&L). If there is no future, there will be no people to do more for the environment. I want change and I want to live. The earth should be able to live too. Everything that we have like cars and buses, should be earth friendly. Now they’re bad because they pollute the air.

–High school student

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Chicago—I’m here from West Town Academy. We came to strike over climate change and global warming.

The strikes are having an impact and this right here is only the beginning.

At school we heard talks about the Green New Deal in the U.S. and Europe.

We need something big to make an impact. A lot of stuff starts off small and when it’s small a lot of people don’t really pay attention to it. But once it gets bigger that’s when it draws more attention.

–High school student

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See also “Chicago climate strike confronts the specter of climate chaos

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