All across the world, youths will be walking out of class in support of a Global Climate Strike, meant to bring awareness to the threat of climate change and global warming.
“We have to treat climate change as what it is — an emergency,” said Audrey Maurine Xin Lin, an 18-year-old who’s been one of the coordinators of the Boston school strike and march.
The movement was founded by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg who is asking youth and “grown-ups” worldwide to walk out of school and places of work, in a week of coordinated climate actions from September 20 to 27. She put a face on the movement, at age 16 last August, when she began skipping school on Fridays to stand outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign protesting inaction on climate change.
One slogan of the international organization reads, “Our house is on fire — let’s act like it.” Youth and adults worldwide will walk out of their schools, homes and workplaces to demand climate justice and emergency action to tackle the climate crisis.
According to a local release, a diverse coalition of youth, parents, supportive adults, and organizations is planning an inter-generational day of strike on Friday, September 20, in Davis, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike.
By early September, kids from 11 schools and from the homeschooling community were already signed up and more young people are joining every day. On the 20th of September, the strikers will gather at the Mary L. Stephens Library on East 14th street at 11:30am and then march to Central Park at 12pm. Local youth will visit the School District building and City Hall to ask for local changes that sufficiently respond to and address the urgency of the climate crisis.
UC Davis groups are planning a strike for the 27th. Events are also planned for Sacramento and scores of other locations across our region, including thousands worldwide.
Demands at the national level are for a Green New Deal, respect for indigenous lands and sovereignty, environmental justice, protection and restoration of biodiversity, and implementation of sustainable agriculture.
September 20 will mark the second Kids Climate Strike in Davis. On March 15, 2019, kids from local elementary and high schools gathered in front of the Davis main library with supportive parents. The Davis event was one of 2,083 strikes in 125 countries in which more than 1.5 million students participated. The upcoming eight-day long strike from September 20 to 27 is expected to be even bigger, reflecting the growing energy and leadership by youth.
A group of elementary and high school students met again twice this past week and shared their vision for a healthier world. The “asks” as quoted from the students, from second grade to high school senior, included: reduce plastics in the trash, stop burning the Amazon, less factory farming, fewer cars, stop clear cutting forests, more bikes, government take more action, consume less, make climate change “not a political issue,” more electric cars, more recycling, more public transit, more public acknowledgement of climate change, and more people to work on change.
Amber, a Davis High School senior, has been gathering video testimonials from concerned youth. High school and junior high students are invited to post their own videos and tag @climatestrikedavis.
Isabelle, a homeschooler said, “I’m striking because I care about my planet and how life will be for other people.” Sumaya, a 5th grader at Cesar Chavez Elementary said, “I’m striking because I care about our planet and all the animals on it.”
Student organizers are also asking community members to spread the word and make it big! Youth and supportive parents plan to write letters to community members, civic leaders, business owners, and more to invite them to join in the strike, support their actions, and pledge to work harder to ensure a better future.
Criticized for their handling of last year’s gun protest, the DJUSD Superintendent put out a statement noting that the school board, “adopted a Call to Climate Change Resolution in June 2019, that celebrates and promotes practices that conserve natural resources, reduce the impact of District operations on the environment, educate youth and protect the health of students, staff, and community.”
They note, “DJUSD supports students’ rights to collective action and free speech, and we are encouraging students to plan activities to share their voice on campus.”
However, they warn, once again, “students who leave campus will receive an unexcused absence. For safety, District and school staff will be dispatched to supervise students who leave campus, and, as necessary, coordinate with the Davis Police Department.”
The district adds, “The District believes that free inquiry and the exchange of ideas are essential parts of a democratic education. DJUSD respects students’ rights to express ideas and opinions, take stands on issues, and support causes, even when such speech is controversial or unpopular. At the same time, we desire to provide orderly campuses that create a positive school environment. We also recognize that many students may not wish to participate in on-campus activities and shall not be coerced to do so.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting