Last Friday, Sept. 20th, students and young people from around the world walked out of their classes and work to bring awareness to the global climate crisis. A group of the youngest FLIRTies participated in the Chicago Youth Climate March, and wanted to share their thoughts and reactions from the day, and what can be done to combat climate change inaction.
Liam – Associate Creative Director
One of the most striking visuals of the march was the sheer volume of grade school-aged students in attendance, many classes as young as seven years old. Among these children, the most common refrain was, ironically, one of the go-to dismissals of youth activists by climate deniers: they should be in school right now. The students know this. The students don’t want to be at a march. They don’t want protest to take the place of recess. They don’t want to be the ones in the street begging the government and energy corporations to stop ransacking the planet in the name of profit. They’ve just learned that they have no choice. What they recognize in older generations is the dangerous sense of apathy and inaction that has enabled the looming climate catastrophe. Even at their young age, they see before them a political battle that carries, quite literally, global stakes. They’re fighting to make you care, and they intend to win.
Cale – Video Intern
The Climate March made me feel a strong sense of pride for my generation. As the youngest person in the office it was comforting to see people my age uniting on a global scale. Global Warming has been something I’ve been aware of and afraid of since I was in High School. Rapid global climate change is something we all have to be mindful of our effect on, otherwise it’ll be the doom of us all. The march was impactful, but impact isn’t action, which is what we really need. The dark truth of the Climate March is that we need change and we need it now. Fossil fuels are choking our planet and will be our doom if we don’t act soon.
Michael – Editorial Associate
2019 has been the year of youth voices forcing themselves into the conversation. Between the walk-outs and marches for gun violence and climate change, the younger generation has come to realize that even if we are too young to legislate, this should not keep our voices from being heard or taken seriously as the decisions being made affect us equally, or in the case of climate change, to an even greater degree. It was motivating to see the scale of support here in Chicago, and from the other marches around the world. It pushes you to want to do more and make sure that popular support actually becomes real action and doesn’t remain simply a demonstration. It’s hard to be anything but inspired when you see whole classes of elementary school kids next to you chanting about the Earth with their hand-drawn signs and special brand of enthusiasm and joy.
Francie – Production Manager
I think the thing that people don’t appreciate about marches or protests is how quickly you can find yourself talking with a complete stranger, chanting with hundreds of like-minded individuals or finding common ground surrounding the issue you’re speaking out about. Or, you can bond over baked goods. Something that really spoke out to me was a bright-eyed, incredibly cheery woman walking through the throngs of people offering them a fresh baked scone. There was no way she had a scone for every single person there. But for the people that grabbed one of the pastries from the paper bag she had them in, they were met with a brief exchange of conversation and then she moved on. I saw a few people, scones in hand, exchange a nod or a smile to one another as they took another bite. The Scone Lady was definitely a unique, uniting factor and just one of the many ways that thousands of strangers can come a little bit closer when marching for something they so strongly believe in.