By, Calla W. ’22 and Imogen C. ’22
This summer, Boston experienced its hottest July on record. In fact, across the globe, both June and July were the hottest months ever recorded. Although these extremes are new records, they come with little surprise to those who are aware of changes to the global climate; nine of the world’s ten hottest Junes have occurred since 2010. As fall approaches and students return to school, it is not enough to simply read these statistics, reflect on rising temperatures, or post on social media. It is time to act, because, as Greta Thunberg (the 16-year-old founder of the Fridays for Future movement) said, “We cannot solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency.”
On Friday, September 20th, another world record will be set—but not for temperature. Instead, the world’s largest environmental protest in history will take place: the Global Climate Strike. Although this event is youth-led, activists and supporters of all ages are encouraged to attend. In Boston, our goal is to have 10,000 students and allies strike at the City Hall Plaza. In collaboration with many other environmental groups, Climate Strike MA is organizing this rally to demand real, large-scale solutions to fight the climate crisis and end the corrupt influence of fossil fuels in politics. One of these solutions is to demand our elected officials pass a Green New Deal (legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency) for Massachusetts. Such a deal is the only viable way to provide a just transition to a sustainable future for everyone.
Dozens of Winsor students are already planning to join, and we will not just be more bodies in the crowd; we are intelligent, powerful, and driven young people who can contribute a lot to the fight for climate justice. As Winsor students, we also experience incredible privilege. We need to use our resources and stop deferring responsibility to act just because many issues do not directly affect us. The climate crisis is already affecting millions of people worldwide, primarily communities of color, indigenous peoples, and places with high poverty rates. According to the United Nations, the effects of climate change are on track to become irreversible by 2030, before most of us will be eligible to run for the presidency or Congress. If we do not act now, our generation stands to lose the most.
Just as with the Patriots’ Parade, your parents can sign you out of class to attend the strike. We will meet outside of Winsor to take the Green Line to Government Center. There will be events around the subject of climate advocacy going on all day, but we will likely only participate in the main rally and march, from about 11 am to 2 pm. There are consequences for attending the strike without parental permission, so students who cannot join can still support the strike by helping us make posters! Keep in mind that athletes who attend the strike will not be allowed to participate in sports practices or games that Friday afternoon. Some coaches have shown their support for their students’ activism by making that practice optional. Many teachers have also espoused our efforts by mentioning that they will not schedule tests or make any major assignments due on the 20th so that students will not be academically compromised if they miss class. We encourage other coaches and teachers to follow their lead!
Some adults might say that we are throwing away our futures by skipping class on September 20th, but in reality, this protest is an effort to protect our futures and we invite adults to join as allies. The point of the strike is also to disrupt daily life and draw attention to the severity and urgency of the crisis that we are facing. While still accessible and safe to participate in, strikes are also impossible for our leaders to ignore and force them to take us seriously. A school strike is “a passive rejection of a society that is actively shaping us to participate in our own destruction.” Above all, in a time filled with devastating news and demoralization, this strike will give us hope. For many, choosing to strike will be the first step in a difficult but worthy fight for climate justice. Please strike with us on September 20th; our present and futures depend on it! Contact Imogen Cabot (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Calla Walsh (email@example.com) if you have any questions or want to get more involved.