Harrisites Protest in NYC Climate Strike

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Last Friday, over 4 million people came out to contribute to one of the largest environmental protests in history: the Climate Strike. Nearly 300,000 people from the NYC community participated, with about 100 Townsend Harris students joining the cause.

The strike acted as a part of the Global Week for Future, a series of international protests to push for action against climate change. These strikes have been held in over 450 locations within 150 countries, wherein people of all ages were invited to contribute to the movement. 

“The climate is changing so rapidly that we don’t even notice it sometimes,” said Junior Zoe Indarshan. “Sure, the world isn’t going to end tomorrow because of climate change, but there is a very real possibility of it ending in our lifetime if we do not make changes fast.”

One individual who has taken a main role within the climate change community is Greta Thunberg, a young environmental activist. Thunberg inspired the School Strike for Climate, or Youth for Climate/Friday’s for Future, which many of the global strikes work hand in hand with to involve students by giving voice to their environmental demands. As a central spokesperson for this movement, she traveled to NYC to speak of the efforts in other countries. 

Junior Charlene Lee, president of the Save Planet Earth Club (SPE), said, “The movement was a call for today’s youth to show politicians what really matters to us… As important as our education is, there is no point to continue forward if we don’t have a future on this earth to look forward to, which [she believes] was one of the big messages we were trying to get across.”  

A few demands that the strike focused on were transitioning economic dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2030, as well as the restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans. Charlene said, “I understand the demands we are making are very substantial… but big change calls for big action, and we need to change our way of living today.”

As for the students who participated in the strike, many felt it was a uniting and unforgettable experience. Freshman Nameer Khan said, “It felt incredible to be a part of such an extraordinary mass of people.” 

“There was definitely a sense of urgency which the issue of climate change deserves in its own right, and I think many of us marching from the school and from the whole NYC community felt empowered,” Junior Thomas Szymanski said. “I felt closer to the NYC community than ever before.”