Local students will strike over climate change

March 13, 2019

Rochester students will join a global rally in defense of the climate. At noon Friday, students plan to walk out of school and gather at the Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester to speak out on climate change.

“Rochester is the leading center to get optimal health care, however we’re ignoring the biggest threat to our health: the climate crisis,” said Mayo High School senior Siham Abdi, who is the local strike’s lead organizer. “The purpose of our strike is to bring light to this issue of climate change and how our planet is being destroyed due to manmade influences.”

The planned strike takes its lead from a Swedish 15-year-old schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, who has held weekly strikes to raise awareness of climate change. Her effort has won a global following.

On Friday, reports indicate, students in more than 40 countries are expected to participate.

John Marshall High School senior Alina Kaliszewski, a local strike co-organizer, pointed to a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which indicates the worst effects of climate change are just 11 years away.

“We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis.”

Other co-organizers for Friday’s Peace plaza gathering are Mayo High School senior Sam Dostal and Century High School junior Nick Ericson. “We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation — especially communities of color, disabled communities and low- income communities — are already disproportionately impacted by climate change,” Dostal said “We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change.”

“We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100 percent renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure,” Ericson added. “Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time.”