Students March for the Planet

Angelica Rivera-Oliveira

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On March 15th, students all around the world chose to play hooky so that they could participate in what turned out to be one of the largest environmental protests in history. It all started with Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old climate activist from Sweden. The young environmentalist began protesting last August outside of the Swedish Parliament, where she accused lawmakers of failing to live up to their duties of fighting climate change as depicted in the Paris climate accord. Thunberg camped outside of the Swedish Parliament all alone with a hand painted sign that said “Strike for Climate” hoping that people would listen to her; Months later, students from all across the globe were inspired by her story and protested outside of their own lawmakers buildings.

The March 15 Youth Climate Strike involved over 112 countries, with 4 protest locations here in Connecticut. Many students from our own school went to the strike at the capitol building in Hartford, where they listened to speeches, demonstrated with signs all around the building and sidewalks, and even got to enter the building to talk to politicians about law and climate change. Well known environmental figures even made an appearance, such as Leticia Colon De Mejias; The CEO/founder of Energy Efficiencies Solutions, president of Green Eco Warriors, and environmentalist author. She stood alongside students as they were protesting and helped them learn how to talk to politicians in an impactful way before they went into the building. 

With the 12 year deadline to save the Earth, many of the students at the protests in the U.S. centered their chants around the Green New Deal; Which is a set of proposed economic stimulus programs in the United States that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. The deal hopes to have the nation using all renewable energy by 2030 while also creating 10 million jobs which would ideally help the economy. One of the students at the Hartford Capitol building said, “The world’s best climate scientists said we have 12 years to fix this or else extreme heat, drought, and poverty will kill us. So jobs, school, money, and everything won’t even matter when we are dead. Our top priority should be saving the planet.” Along with students many allies went to the protests in support, including parents and older protesters. Many young protesters are excited to see what will happen in result of their action, and are continuing to plan more events like this.