By Alex Cordero
As world leaders met in Madrid for the United Nations conference to discuss the Paris Climate Change Agreement, students and local residents took part in a climate strike last Friday at Pasadena City Hall.
The climate strike was organized by students from Sequoyah High School. Ozzy Simpson, co-president of Sequoyah’s student council lead the protest and collected about 50 signatures, and counting, for the Green New Deal (GND) petition he and other local residents will be presenting to Pasadena government officials at the next council meeting.
Students are taking part in climate strikes to state their demands to City Council. Their main focus is to get Crown City officials to take a pledge that will require city officials to stop accepting monetary contributions from oil, gas and coal industry executives, and lobbyist.
However, the GND also calls for many other types of changes that focus on creating a better future; it’s a call to action for communities to invest in infrastructure, transform the current economy, and create environmental sustainability on a national level.
“A national mobilization of the size and scale of the Green New Deal presents an unprecedented opportunity to not only combat the climate crisis, but also to eliminate poverty in the U.S. and to make wealth, prosperity, and security available to every person who participates in the transition.” reads the GND’s main goals.
The GND includes goals which work toward securing a healthy future for the environment and there is no question as to why local youth are determined to have their local city officials pledge and commit to the goals described in the GND.
One of the goals is to be able to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.”
The GND plans to not only fight climate change but also combines goals and projects to improve prosperity in our economy while improving the environment.
Karen Berger, a local resident, participated in the last climate strike, was inspired by the students’ involvement and did not want to miss the climate strike.
“I’m here because I have nieces and I’m concerned about their future,” Berger continued “to see our youth actively engage in fighting for climate change is very encouraging.”
I also had the opportunity to engage with some of the students participating in the climate strike and it appears they are all determined to continue fighting climate change.
A group of students who asked to remain anonymous had a few words to share while they waited patiently on the stairs of Pasadena City Hall for the march to begin.
“Change has to happen and we cannot keep living the way that we are. We have to do something so our generation and future generations can see the world and all of its beauty,” said one young local student.
“This is not something that is optional. The climate crisis is the biggest existential threat that humanity has ever faced and we have to do something now.” stated another local student.
Another group of students from Sequoyah High School participating in the climate strike agreed with each other in stating that consistency is key to change.
“I came because I think it’s important that we show up every single time, to every march event and note that this is not a trend. I think consistency is the key to change.” said Audrey Bluestone amongst her fellow colleagues also in attendance at the climate strike.
“Since this is our future and this [climate change] really affects our future I think it’s important we don’t back down and we keep joining these climate strikes.” said Greta Simpson from Sequoyah High School.
Young student Harlon Lehman Rhoads had the following statement to share: “We are the people who are going to be living through what happens when our climate gets worse, and it is important that we take charge now and state our ideas and make sure that our voices are heard.”