On September 20th, 2019 Lawrence High students walked out of class and protested at Lawrence’s City Hall, as a part of the national climate strike.
The Climate Strike Walkout was organized by the Kansas Sierra Club and the Sunrise Movement, bringing together many activists, both young and old. There was a large turnout: many people left jobs, school and homes in order to attend the event.
Gretchen Auten, one of the organizers, was very impressed with the turnout.
“It’s so wonderful, it’s really empowering. I love that there are so many people who are passionate enough to be able to leave school and work for this,” said Auten.
Auten was inspired to organize the protest after seeing that the government was ignoring climate change.
“I started to see on the news where we were taking over Nancy Pelosi’s office; where young people were speaking to Dianne Feinstine, and just how tone deaf they were,” Auten said. “All of these people that I had put my trust into, that they would actually be able to run the country, and steer us in a direction where we could live for the next few generations. They really are completely tone deaf and are not leading us.”
Students attended the Climate Strike because of their concern for the environment. Cierra Krauss, a senior at LHS, enjoyed the unity she felt at the protest, and joined because of her concern for the environment.
“I really care about the environment. So that’s the reason, and I really love the fact that it’s international. That everyone is doing it today,” said Krauss.
Donnavan Dillon, a junior from LHS, believed it was important for students to show up to the protest.
“We are the only ones advocating for ourselves and fostering change so I feel like it’s important for us to be here and show up,” Dillon said.
Reece Wohlford, also an LHS junior, thinks that climate change is a pressing issue. .
“It feels like there’s always a biggest issue in every part of history, ‘Oh, if I was a part of The Civil Rights Movement I would go’ and I feel like this is our big thing, so I want to be a part of it,” Wohlford said.
Issac Nguoh, also an LHS junior, believes it is important to look at the factual information given rather than ignoring them.
“I want to support the cause for not denouncing the scientific research that has come through, and that it is not relevant to help save our earth,” Issac Ngoh said.
He thinks there is not much that can be done immediately, and that things must be done over time.
“Obviously long term, I want to see maybe lower usage of fossil fuel and higher implementation of solar panels and eco friendly energy,” Ngoh said. “Immediate, I’m not sure if there is anything we can do right now that will immediately solve change; so I’d say everything we can do will help in the long run.”
Krauss feels that many things can be changed to help reduce our carbon footprints.
“It would be great if we could reduce our waste; our recycling system isn’t very efficient with one stream recycling,” Krauss said. “A lot of it gets contaminated, and then just goes to landfill. Nationwide, reduce our carbon emissions, or at least admit that climate change is real.”
Auten is concerned about the future humans are leaving for the next generations.
“I’m really scared that we are leaving our kids, and our grandkids, and great grandkids behind in this. We are focused so much on the immediate dollar that we are literally killing the future for our kids,” she said.
Nadia Sanburn contributed to this report.