Students walk out to protest lack of climate change reform


Senior Claire Dornbierer at the walkout last Friday.

Sarah Frieman, Executive Editor

Last Friday, ETHS students joined thousands of students across the globe in participation of a school walkout, marching from campus to Fountain Square, in protest of the lack of action taken to intervene the threat of climate change.

“People are starting to realize that in 11 years, climate change will be irreversible, and maybe the people in government who are generally older than ourselves, may not be affected by it, but we will,” senior Mollie Hartenstein, one of the organizers, said. “It’s an inescapable reality that this is going to happen in our lifetime.”

International inspiration for the walkout started when Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who is now up for a Nobel Peace Prize, staged a school strike fighting climate change in front of the Swedish Parliament last August. This action prompted the #FridaysForFuture movement, which some students around the world have been participating in for the past couple of months.

“The fact that someone my age called on international students to do it definitely gave me new motivation,” Hartenstein said.
At ETHS, the walkout was organized primarily by Hartenstein, School Board Student Representative Phoebe Liccardo and senior Lilly Bond, who were helped by a number of students from the Student Union. Organizers led students out of the school over to Fountain Square for the rally, escorted by the Evanston Police Department and the school’s safety department.

Liccardo, sophomore Oliver Leopold, Green Team President Arielle Weiss and junior Henry Eberhart all spoke addressing topics such as the lack of action, the impact of avoiding livestock products, the Green New Deal and the racial and economic inequalities within climate change. Organizers then prompted students to call local politicians and passed out sheets containing information on how to do so.
“I think that we accomplished the goal we were striving for; there were a lot of people there and when we were calling senators and representatives the hotlines were being flooded,” sophomore Olive Cantor said.

After the ETHS walkout, some students attended a similar event hosted by Northwestern University, ultimately leading to a march to NU’s administration.

Many students expressed motivation to create a change in their personal lives. In addition, this past Monday, the Green Team hosted a waste audit where students measured how much waste is thrown into the recycling and how much recycling is thrown into the waste at ETHS.
“It was really informative… I’m already a vegetarian but I feel that I’ll try to eat less dairy… I just wish more people would’ve came,” sophomore Sophia Osilaja said.

According to The Washington Post, the March 15 strike involved over 100 countries and over 1,600 separate events. Additionally, the Green New Deal, introduced Feb. 7 by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markley, has also been gaining traction with over 100 co-sponsors expressing support both before and after the strike.

“Climate Change will substantially impact the way that we live,” Hartenstein said. “That future isn’t far away, so if you want to live a long happy life, you need to care about this now.”