[PHOTOSTORY] Why did students leave school for the Climate Strike?

Strikers say missing about 4 hours of school was worth it.

September 21, 2019

This Friday, some SPA students left school to participate in the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike at the St. Paul Capitol. 

Senior Paige Indritz organized those students’ participation in the event, by spreading information about the strike and organizing the transportation there. The students met in the Huss Commons at 10:40 am and took the bus together to the strike.

Some SPA student strikers came back to school in time for the last block of the day, but many never returned to school Friday afternoon, missing approximately 4 hours of school. 

The student strikers who left school for the Climate Strike had a variety of opinions on the subject of climate change, but they were united in their passion for the issue.

Sophomores Val Chafee and Tyler Christensen both believe that the issue of climate change has been filled with people who have good intentions but are focusing on the wrong parts of environmentalism.  

[Climate change] is an issue that’s going to affect our generation the hardest. So we have to stand up and do something about it now.”

— Ellie Dawson-Moore

Chafee highlighted the people who post about climate but never take impactive action.

“Climate change is terrible, and not enough people care. They post on Instagram, and then they never do anything,” she said.

Christensen referenced the recent trend of replacing plastic straws with reusable ones in an attempt to reduce the number of turtles dying due to ingesting plastic straws.

“We should turn our attention away from [the small picture], like reusable straws, […] and turn our attention to the big corporations that are polluting our oceans with billions of gallons of chemicals and raising carbon emissions by extreme amounts,” she said.

Senior Sydney Therien, junior Gabriella Thompson, sophomore Naci Konar-Steenberg, and ninth-grader Sila Liljedahl all seem to agree that there isn’t enough action being taken on the issue of climate change.

“[Climate change] is real and it’s about damn time something started happening to fix it,” Therien said.

Thompson came to the Climate Strike to call out the government.

“I am here because climate change is killing us and our government is not doing enough to stop it. The studies show that we’re going to be in a lot of trouble really, really soon and that we already are. So we’re here to make our voices heard,” she said.

Konar-Steenberg is disappointed in the lack of action up until this point.

“People knew [climate change] was happening in the 1950s. And it’s taken us 70 years to start actually doing things about it, which is disturbing, to say the least,” he said.

Liljedahl, who was the only SPA ninth-grader at the strike, is worried about what may happen if big steps aren’t taken soon.

It’s a really important issue and it’s something that our generation is ready to take on.”

— senior Paige Indritz

“[Climate change] is important and there’s not enough being done about it. Things need to change really fast,” she said.

Junior Gavin Kimmel believes that the act of leaving school in the name of climate justice spreads awareness of the issue. He also participated in the strike for another reason.

“I am here because my sister couldn’t come, so I came for her,” Kimmel said.

Senior Paige Indritz and sophomore Ellie Dawson-Moore stressed the unification of their generation on the issue of climate change.

“We don’t know enough about climate change. I don’t even know enough about climate change. But, it’s a really important issue and it’s something that our generation is ready to take on,” Indritz said.

“[Climate change] is an issue that’s going to affect our generation the hardest. So we have to stand up and do something about it now,” Dawson-Moore said.

Some of the speakers at the Climate Strike spoke on the intersectionality of the climate crisis with other issues, such as race. Junior Katherine Goodman shared this sentiment.

“[Climate change] is connected to many other issues and […] we need to address both climate change and those issues simultaneously if we want to effect real change,” she said.

Although the strikers had different motivations for leaving school to go to the Climate Strike, their shared passion for climate justice and unity together justified their absence from school.

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