Voices from Global Climate Strike

Chicago—I’m here because I’m thinking about all of humanity. We don’t need to destroy people’s indigenous lands and force them to become climate refugees, although in such a case we shall welcome them with open arms and stand up against racism or xenophobia. Some places are already uninhabitable. It just scares me. It’s happening right now. I am just amazed that people choose profit over human lives. I need to stand up for my future. I want to feel comfortable having a family and being assured that they will live on a safe earth.

I’ve never done anything like this before. There’s something sublime about it. It’s so powerful. This is my first climate action. I’ve known about the climate strike and Greta Thunberg for six months now or so, from seeing the news. It’s really exciting. The community here is great. And so many people. I hear that millions and millions of people are striking.

—Ashley


Youth at the Chicago Climate strike demonstration, Sept. 20, 2019. Their sign reads: Why Are You Letting Us Die!” Photo: Terry Moon for News & Letters.

Chicago—I’m here because my good friend Ashley said that there was this protest going on. I care deeply about the environment and I try to do my part. So I thought it was not only a good thing, not only something I wanted to do, but kind of a responsibility to be here.

I’m 29 years old. I first started learning about global warming around 2000. Later, I was struck by Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. We didn’t study it in school. That’s kind of odd. But I remember learning about the destruction of rainforests and the polar ice cap melting. What really tugged at my heartstrings were the animals dying due to global warming. What really gets me is the humanitarian crisis of people and animals. We share this earth. I think we should all put this together in a more habitable way.

I can remember that iconic image of the polar bear so happy and drinking a coke. Seeing documentaries about polar bears swimming with nowhere to get out of the water, dying, felt like a metaphor for my innocent worldview being disillusioned or deferred.

—Laura


Chicago—I’ve always been a supporter of climate change mitigation efforts. In recent years, as the issues intensified, I feel more called to action because I’m a younger person, and I’ll be feeling the effects more than the older people who attempt to stop mitigation efforts. I am in an AP capstone class at my school. It’s a prestigious kind of coursework, where you do research projects, and you get a diploma after completing two courses. Last year, I did a majority of my projects on climate change efforts and climate change effects from large industries, such as the hotel industry, which is a very big contributor to domestic landfills and other pollution. It intensifies as my interest grows, and I’m just ready to do something about it.

I am 18. I don’t do as much as I could for mitigation efforts. I don’t have a whole lot of freedom in terms of my time and scheduling. I use the least amount of plastic I can. I haven’t used straws for a year. I was about 16 when I started being active. That’s when people started reporting on it a little bit more. Obviously, in the last two years, there’s been a whole lot more coverage, which is why there’s way more people here than before.

Estimations that we achieve a point of no return by 2045 or 2050, are going to be concerning a lot of Generation Z people. We are unable to grasp the full gravity, because we’re young and we have other stuff that we’re trying to deal with as growing people in America. Everyone is starting to feel a lot more unified. This is a central issue. It’s incredibly encouraging. It makes me very happy that there’s so many people. People are going to stop by and hear the message. It doesn’t take a whole lot to read the message and take it to heart. That’s what’s very nice as there’s all these people that are not only doing it for each other, like everyone here at the rally, but it’s also for people that are going to be reporting on this that will also get the message that everyone wants conveyed

I’m from Chicago, Logan Square. I’m doing a project on changing perceptions and behaviors regarding climate change and mitigation efforts that people can do, hoping to try and at least change some people who are indifferent to this issue because it’s going to affect us all immediately. If people are indifferent to it, it might already be too late.

—Emilio


Detroit—Detroit’s Climate Strike was really cool and inspiring. About 700 people, mostly young, rallied and marched in downtown Detroit. All the speeches were by young people, mostly people of color. They are angry; they understand that life will not be the same in the future.

I went because I feel it is important to support the young people. They are listening to Greta Thunberg who inspires them and brings tears to our eyes.

I talked to an organizer from a left party who was dismayed that the speakers, some as young as seven years old, were not following the agenda. I told him, “When you were their age, you didn’t follow the agenda either.”

—Participant


See also “Global Climate Strike–Chicago

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