By Maddy Meekins, A&E editor
Chanting “this is what democracy looks like,” roughly 2,000 people showed up to take a stand for the planet on Sept. 20 in Courthouse Square, demanding action on the growing global issue of climate change. Many Maria Carrillo High School students participated in the climate strike, some skipping class time to do so.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, climate change is causing “large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather,” and it is happening “now.” Individuals that showed up to march Friday agree, demanding government action to attempt to solve the growing problem and citing the implications of inaction in the immediate future.
Senior Charlotte Knight who attended the climate strike Friday said that she believes it is important and impactful because “it makes people realize that this is a global issue.” Additionally, she commented that “lately, it feels like there’s about to be an apocalypse or something,” but those in power have failed to pass meaningful legislation on the issue. Knight emphasized why the issue was important in Santa Rosa especially, countering some individuals’ claims that the strike is “preaching to the choir.” Knight said, “If they see people they know going out and being active in their own town, I believe they’ll realize we all have a responsibility to fight it.” Knight, like many, was inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist that spearheaded the recent movements. Knight said, “She’s younger than me and already accomplishing so much.” Thunberg has gained international recognition for her efforts, and her youth combined with her words has galvanized many to take action.
Senior Sara Nguyen agreed with Knight, saying that “it’s time for our generation to stand up for what we stand on.” Nguyen, who also attended the walk-out, said, “people in power seem to care more about economics than the environment right now,” expressing her disappointment in legislators.
Others believe that the protests are ineffective. Ian Oliffe, a senior, said, “while I support the ideas advocated for by the protests, I don’t know a single person that all of a sudden became more environmentally passionate due to them, and I know very well that it didn’t do anything to affect our lawmakers,” citing that most people have “made up their minds already” on the issue. Knight disagrees saying that for the time being “those in power see this protesting as just a trend that will soon go away, but as long as we keep talking and fighting about it, they’ll see that not only do we need acknowledgment, we need action right the f— now.” Nguyen also believed the strike was effective, citing the four million in attendance worldwide who “showed up to band together and fight for our future, showing our politicians what they have to do to win [their] vote in the upcoming elections.”
Some don’t believe that change in the United States is necessary. Senior Catherine Fields said that “everyone gets so riled up over something that isn’t even a problem” because “the climate fluctuates” and “temperatures won’t rise forever; it will reach a peak then descend.” Junior Connor Chang agreed that climate change is a global issue, but does not believe it is the United States duty to take increased action, saying, “at the moment, other countries need to get involved. The United States has done what it can to the point that it is now suffering.” Chang also stated that he believes innovation is the answer, not regulation.