Students Strike for Climate Change

As thousands of youth across the globe rally for climate awareness, it’s hard not to be swept up in the desire for long-awaited change and recognition of this issue. Younger generations are becoming more aware of politics and economics, expressing their convictions on many issues, one of which is the world’s climate crisis. 

The Global Climate Strike is a worldwide movement of young people who took off a day of school or work to demand that politicians take action to help stop climate change. One of the many student organizers for this strike was Ella Barry, a Benet junior. When asked about the goals for this Strike, she responded, “Some goals on the national level include passing the Green New Deal, halting all fossil fuel infrastructure projects, declaring a national emergency on climate change, and climate change education in schools.” In addition, other reasons for the Strike are preserving public indigenous lands, keeping water supplies clean, and ensuring that all future government decisions are tied to scientific research. But how can such a massive movement influence current issues in Chicago? The climate strike in Chicago, if successful, might encourage Governor Pritzker to pass Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act, which may create thousands of green energy jobs, thus bringing the state closer to a green economy.

However, this climate strike isn’t the first one to occur on the streets of Chicago. On March 15 of this year, the first strike had about 500 attendees, nearly the same number for the second strike on May 3. At the second strike, Senator Dick Durbin was present and spoke, attracting significant press–both significant accomplishments for organizers such as Barry. The third strike on September 20 started at 11:00 a.m. in Grant Park.  People then marched to Federal Plaza and arrived there around 12:00-12:30 p.m.. Many speakers and organizers had the opportunity to speak in front of the crowd, and by 1:30 p.m., the strike concluded. Though the strike had ended, the work has only just begun.

With at least 3,000 people in attendance, the latest strike for climate took the city and the nation by surprise. It was a wake-up call for politicians all across America, showing them to finally take the youth as seriously as the thousands of teens take climate change. A fourth strike for climate was held on Monday, October 7 at 4:45 p.m.. With all of the momentum from the most recent strike, many gathered at Trump Tower to march to City Hall and stand together so that Chicago can declare a climate emergency. This movement is yet another reminder of the sheer strength of the collective voice of the youth–a voice that is so often underestimated and can create such positive and necessary change for crucial issues such as the climate crisis even in the midst of controversy. To stay up to date with future events, follow The Illinois Youth Climate Strike page on Instagram at @climatestrikeil and on Facebook at IL Youth Climate Strike.