What started with one sixteen-year-old girl skipping school every Friday has become a global movement to demand climate action. On Friday September 20th and again on Friday September 27th young people across the world will be walking out of school to call for sweeping reform to combat the Climate Crisis.
The Global Climate Strike is backed by dozens of big-name organizations like Greenpeace, Patagonia, and Women’s March Global, but the movement is led and organized totally by young people, including the Future Coalition, a youth-run non-profit whose executive director is 19.
The Friday school-strike model came about thanks to Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old from Sweden who started skipping school every Friday last year to protest her government on Climate Change, but her efforts have joined with that of thousands of other young people around the world who are organizing strikes at their middle schools, high schools, and colleges. All 1.1 million New York City public students have been formally excused from school if they attend the September 20th strike.
Thunberg and the school strikers are far from the only youth activists fighting for climate action. 21 American youths are in the process of suing the United States government for its failure to act on Climate Change, and The Network of African Youths for Development is an organization of young people across Africa that are working to foster sustainable development in rural communities. In all regions and on all platforms the youth of the world are mobilizing for climate reform.
2,5000 strike-related events are scheduled to take place in 150 countries and all 50 states, and thousands of adults have pledged to join the strike as well, including employees of Amazon and Google. The exact demands of the strikers vary from place to place but the general global demands are that governments and institutions around the world create, “climate justice for everyone,” and “stop burning fossil fuels, and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at it’s heart.”
So where does Bard fit into all this?
On September 27th Bard is joining the Global Climate Strike. The strike officially begins at 10am and speakers will begin at noon on the Campus Center quad. At 2pm a march will leave from the quad and go around campus. This Sunday, the 22nd, poster making for the march will take place at the Campus Center and there will be a table at Kline during dinner hour this Tuesday, the 24th, where any questions you have about the strike can be answered. There is no need to sign up to attend the rally or the march; all are welcome.
The demands of the Bard student strikers are as follows: The incorporation of Climate Change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into all relevant curriculum, the end of the use of disposables in Kline dining hall, a shuttle to Kingston and the Rhinecliff train station, less meat and beef in Kline, and recognition by the college that Climate Change has evolved into the Climate Emergency.
Want to be involved in climate activism post-strike? The Bard Office of Sustainability will be signing people up for the Campus Ecochallenge from 4 to 9pm in the Campus Center directly following the strike on the 27th. Bard is joining dozens of other campuses in the Ecochallenge competition to see who can complete the most tasks that make a measurable positive impact on the environment.
Signing up for the challenge doesn’t commit you to anything. All it does is give you access to the challenges and the opportunity to participate in Bard’s environmental activism.
The Sustainability Office will be hosting events throughout the year that relate to the Project Drawdown solutions and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To keep up with our activities follow us on social media, (handles below). There are also several impactful climate organizations in the Annandale area including Sunrise Bard, a youth organization for political climate action, The Bard EcoCommunity, and Citizen Climate Lobby. For more information on these groups see contacts below.
Class of 2021
Snapchat: Bard Sustainability
Facebook: Bard Office of Sustainability
Instagram: Bard Office of Sustainability
Citizens Climate Lobby: lauriehusted@Gmail.com
Bard Eco Community: email@example.com
photo credit: https://globalclimatestrike.net/