Global Climate Strike Friday, including state capitol and all around Minnesota

By Lindsey Peterson
September 20, 2019

Over 3,000 students expected to march in St. Paul

The Global Climate Strike taking place in 150 countries Friday, includes several local strikes including a demonstration at the state capitol building in St. Paul.

Organizers are expecting up to 3,000 students at the demonstration.  Those students will be skipping school to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels” and raise awareness of a growing climate change crisis.

Most school districts are approving the absences.  The Rochester Public Schools told KAAL-TV that they “will not discipline students for participating in an on-campus walkout as long as the activity remains peaceful and brief.”

There will be a rally at 11:30am at Western Sculpture Park, and those gathered will then march to the capitol building.

The march in Minnesota is being led by Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, but several other organizations including Climate Reality and MN 350 are participating both locally, in addition to the various organizations around the U.S. and world.

This past Wednesday, 16-year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, testified before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Thunberg told the committee, “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.”

Jennifer Grant, the Chair of the St. Paul Chapter of Climate Reality, told WCCO that this movement, being led by student activism, is still open to those of all ages and requires participation from everyone.

“Many people hear it’s a school strike for climate and assume it’s only for the youth,” said Grant.  “While it was started by a youth activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, it is necessary that we’re all involved.  It’s especially important, however, that we do amplify the voices of those that will bear the brunt of the impact for years to come.  We have the means to solve the crisis at hand and as a chapter of Climate Reality, we’re focused on education and taking action.”

Some of the demands being made by US Youth Climate Strike are:
1. We demand a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the October 2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

2. We demand our world leaders take action that ensures global warming remains under 1.5 degrees.

3. We demand that our US legislators implement the Green New Deal and other legislative actions that decrease the climate crisis.

St. Paul is just one of several strikes around Minnesota.  Others include Lake of the Woods, Bemidji, Grand Rapids, the Iron Range, Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, Rochester, Willmar and Winona.

Since most of the youth involved in this movement aren’t allowed to vote, they have used other tactics to try and give a voice to their concerns.

In August, Paul and Jordana spoke to Lia Harel, who was the Earth Club President at Hopkins High School and is now carrying her climate activism to college.  She brought her message of student activism to the Climate Reality Leadership training in Minneapolis this past summer, led by former Vice President Al Gore.

“I found myself in this community of young people, who are passionate about saving their future.  I was inspired by everything that they’re doing, and their activism.  Then teaching me how much my future is at stake from the climate crisis.  There’s this community building for a better future and that’s what has propelled me further,” Harel told Paul and Jordana.

She added, “We should be working to find solutions, not just for our children or grandchildren, but right now.  There’s not enough attention to that issue.  Together we have the power to solve the climate crisis.  Every student, every parent, every teacher, every leader.  The future is in our hands.”

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