Students Strike to Demand Action on Climate Change

by Sophie Leggett, an 11th grade student at Woodstock High School

In Sweden, a 16-year-old girl named Greta Thunberg is stirring up international awareness of the current climate crisis. In a country that values rules and oneness, Greta stands out by striking from school every Friday to protest the current inaction on climate change and demand that attention be brought to the issue by policymakers and the general public alike. On Friday, March 15, Woodstock will follow suit.

A group of students from Woodstock Union High School has organized a climate strike inspired by Fridays for Future, the movement that was started by Thunberg and has spread across Europe. This group will lead students on a march from the high school toward downtown Woodstock, then proceed with an organized protest in Woodstock center with goals of both expressing discontent with the way this country treats climate change and demanding action. There will be student-made speeches and posters; the climate strike is being organized by students, albeit with the help of some dedicated adults.

Organizer and student activist Erica Kurash was inspired by Greta Thunberg. When Kurash learned that Thunberg’s movement was going global, she gathered other students who she knew would be passionate about bringing it to Vermont.

“What if I told you that in 11 years, the effects of climate change will be irreversible?” said student organizer Noah Anderson, adding, “If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is… we are hovering at a tipping point.”

Lilly Holding, another student, has the same concerns. “It’s easy for us to become swept up in our daily lives and forget about the bigger picture,” she said. “Everybody is affected by climate change and we need a large political movement as well as local actions to slow the repercussions. The youth strike is to display the obligations to our environment and our future.”

Thunberg summarizes the reasoning behind our activism: “We all have a choice. We can create transformational action that will safeguard living conditions for future generations. Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail. That is up to you and me.”

Because we are protesting as United States’ citizens, our focus will be on the Green New Deal. We will demand action primarily on climate change, such as legislation to reduce carbon emissions or decrease plastic use. Climate change, however, is inextricably tied to issues of equity and justice. As such, in supporting the Green New Deal, we will demand our government help secure the global food supply and push for a more inclusive economic democracy, among other pertinent issues.

The students will start walking from the high school at 10 a.m. and events in the town will begin around 11:15 a.m. For an hour, students will speak both about the Fridays for Future movement and how we can create a more sustainable Woodstock community. Students will walk back to school at 1:15 p.m. Community members are invited and encouraged to participate in the strike.

As part of an international movement, Woodstock will be taking action against the destruction of our planet. Our community has the opportunity to demand change both in policy and in our daily lives, both from our legislators and from ourselves. Please join us on the Green on Friday, March 15, for our future.

Please contact Erica Kurash at ekurash@gmail.com with any inquires.

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