"I want to have kids and not have them grow up in the apocalypse," she said.
Kaitlyn was standing on the Idaho Statehouse steps minutes before the beginning of the Youth Climate Strike on March 15, and behind her was a building full of lawmakers, many of whom believe climate change is either a hoax, not driven by human behavior, or an inevitability. But before her were approximately 200 students who had left class to call for the rapid rollout of policies to combat global warming.
The strike was one of hundreds around the country—and the world—that took place on Friday. They're part of a global movement of youth who are concerned about the habitability of the planet and frustrated with lawmakers' failure or unwillingness to take action.
- Harrison Berry
- Students from across the Treasure Valley participated in the strike on Friday.
Lydia, a sophomore at Boise High School, took a similar tone.
"I think it's just ignorance," she said about climate change-denying lawmakers, speculating about their motives for not subscribing to the scientific consensus behind human-driven climate change. "The only reason we're polluting our planet is, people are making money off that."
"There's no political argument for denying a future for everyone," said Shavonne, a Hillside Junior High School ninth grader.
The clock is ticking, other students said: Scientists largely agree that people could begin feeling the most severe effects of climate change in just over a decade, and many developed nations have signed on to agreements to limit fossil fuel emissions and transition to renewable energy sources like solar and wind. In the United States, some in Congress have gotten behind the Green New Deal, which would massively subsidize a renewable energy industry, reduce waste and limit the country's impact on the global climate.
High school and junior high school students, however, are too young to vote. Attendees at the strike said they will eventually come of age, but while they're young, their most powerful tools are their voices and willingness to get in front of lawmakers.
"The only way to create change is through direct action," said J.D., a junior at Boise High School. "You have to go out and do stuff yourself."
- Harrison Berry
- Liam Neupert, 16, helped organize the Youth Climate Strike in Boise.
Neupert also addressed what he said was the inevitable criticism that they as students are inexperienced, ignorant or otherwise too young to be political actors, and that pressing for such profound changes to policy is "radical."
"Sometimes you have to be radical and loud to have your voice heard," he said.