Global Climate Strike Walkout

Bailey Wolf, Reporter

On Friday, September 20th, people walked out of their classes or jobs to protest the growing issue of global warming by participating in a Global Climate Strike, almost 4 million protesters gathered around the world, many of them under the age of 18.

The strike kicked off a week of the Global Week for Future. The Youth Climate Action Summit was held on September 21st. The UN Climate Action Summit was held on the 23rd of September. With the world’s leaders gathering to talk about the planet and it’s ecosystems in a formal setting a few days after the walkout it seemed like no better time to draw the general populations attention to the issues at hand.  

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen, started the movement in 2018 when she was 15. Thunberg would leave school to stand outside of the Swedish parliament as a call for action to advocate for the planet. The strike spread across the world and students everywhere began organizing the Friday’s for Future program, where they would leave their classes every Friday in an effort to strike for the climate.

The United States Youth Climate Strike Movement has several demands they want fulfilled through these strikes according to their website. The first is establishing a green new deal to transform the United States economy to 100% renewable energy by 2030. The second is a halt to any fossil fuel infrastructure projects. The third is any environmental decisions made by the government be tied to scientific research. The fourth is a national emergency in climate change be declared. The fifth is mandatory education on the impacts of climate change for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The sixth is preserving public land and wildlife. The seventh is keeping the world’s water supply clean.

 Protests happened in over 150 countries and all over the United States but the biggest protests in the United States happened in Boston,  Chicago, New York City, and Seattle. In Seattle, protesters were to meet at Cal Anderson Park in at nine a.m. at 12 p.m. the group began marching to City Hall, where there was a youth led rally for climate justice at City Hall. 

“This matters more than school, when it comes to an existential crisis like climate change,” said Thomas Koehnline, a sophomore at Garfield High School, in an interview with The Seattle Times.

The Seattle City Council urged Seattle Public Schools to not give students protesting an unexcused absence and encouraged students to celebrate their right to participate in the Global Climate Strike. Seattle Public Schools shot back in a statement saying “Seattle Public Schools will not attempt to prevent students from participation in this event, but we cannot excuse the absence from school,” said District Superintendent Denise Juneau, “as it does not meet the criteria of an excused absence as defined by state law or board policy and procedure.”

Public school students were allowed to attend but would be marked as an unexcused absence and not be able to participate in practice or games for any sports that night if they missed as well as not be able to make up any work they had missed. Holy Names students were given an excused absence as long as their parents notified the attendance office and all policies were followed regarding absences and early dismissals and they could participate in sports and games that night.  At Bishop Blanchet it was counted as an excused absence with parent permission.