Young people gathered around the world — in small groups and massive crowds — to demand that real action be taken.
Here at home, dozens of youth and a handful of older folks lent their frustrated voices to the global chorus in Downtown Appleton. They put forth their message in no uncertain terms:
“Our house is on fire.”
The Global Climate Strike unfolded in communities worldwide. The youth-led initiative aimed to send a loud and insistent message of urgency to older generations that the status quo is destroying the only home we’ll ever have.
It’s disheartening that so many fail to recognize the crisis growing around us, said Madeleine McDermott, a junior at Xavier High School.
“Maybe we won’t change it, but we have to try,” she said.
They gathered at College Avenue and Appleton Street with the mind that solutions start locally. They asked that the Appleton Common Council declare climate change an emergency and that the city become carbon neutral by no later than 2030.
It’s crucial that young people keep the message at the forefront, said Emmalea Kenevan, a senior at Valley New School. Younger generations will continue to press the issue, because they’re the ones who’ll suffer if the climate doesn’t take priority.
“It’s easy to ignore when you’re not going to live it,” she said.
And so they chanted. They held signs carrying thought provoking messages.
“March now or swim later.”
“Planet over profit.”
Many motorists honked their horns in solidarity.
It was good to hear, McDermott said, “but I also wish they were out here striking with us.”
The indifference of some and flat-out denial of others as it comes to climate change is exasperating.
And with that, Friday’s strike ended up providing something important beyond a time and place to press the message.
“Being surrounded by people who feel the same way gives me hope,” Kenevan said.