Students Strike for Climate Action
Organizers hope to help global change with local action
BY: ALEX BERTSCH firstname.lastname@example.org
This Friday, in 150 countries, people will walk out of their jobs, homes or schools to demand climate justice for everyone.
These local events are organized as part of the Global Climate Strike, an international movement raising awareness of the imminent climate crisis.
The Global Climate Strike is based off on organization started by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, who began striking outside her town’s city hall every Friday in September 2018, protesting the lack of concern and action being taken to address climate change.
Shortly after she began striking, in October 2018, a report from the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change gave the governments of the world an ultimatum. They had 12 years to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% and begin to remove carbon from the atmosphere if there was to be any hope of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
These events inspired local organizing by the Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America (RRVDSA).
“It was like two weeks ago that we decided (to organize the event),” said Zac Echola, the RRVDSA organizer who helped plan the event. “So it’s been kind of a race to get things up and going.”
Echola worked with RRVDSA members, as well as members of Sunrise Movement North Dakota, to organize the local event, which will be held at the Fargo City Hall, with the bulk of the event taking place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m Friday.
“It’s actually been really interesting to see people coming to (RRVDSA) meetings specifically because of climate change,” Echola said. “We have a lot of campus organizers now who are in participating.”
A campus organizer who has been leading the effort at MSUM is Nicole Stepan, who has been trying to spread the word about the climate strike on Friday. She hopes to get as many students to attend as possible.
“I’ve been talking to classes, trying to spread awareness about the climate movement happening in the U.S.,” Stepan said. “This has always been a pressing issue for our generation, because it is something that affects us directly.”
Studying biology, Stepan said, affected her views on the pressing need to address climate change.
“In the biological community, people who work in conservation say that working in conservation is like documenting a mass extinction,” Stepan said. “The scientific community keeps saying that each year we have less and less time to get our s— together, but nobody seems to be doing anything about it.”
Stepan is encouraging students who would like to attend the strike to join the carpool meeting at noon on Friday on the Campus Mall.
“I would tell students to talk about the issue,” Stepan said. “Come to the event, take pictures, talk about it on social media and try to spread awareness that Moorhead and Fargo are stepping up along with the rest of the cities in the U.S., and we’re all creating this political movement together.”