Students demand increased CARP implementation through school walkout


Image courtesy of Katie Drew

On Friday, Oct. 22, while most of ETHS was heading to their Block 8 classes, over a hundred students walked out of school to participate in a climate strike organized by Etown Sunrise. While they risked unexcused absences and missing assignments to participate in the protest, many were convinced skipping class was well worth it. 

“Climate change is a big issue. It’s a threat to our generation existentially,” senior Avery Yanowitz said. “[It’s] big enough to miss one day of school.”

The group marched through the streets from Entrance 1 to Fountain Square, passing many supportive Evanston residents on the way. Students in the crowd carried signs with messages like “No Planet B” and “We are missing our lessons so we can teach you one.” Chants led by Sunrise organizers carried through the crowd, such as, “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” In a moment when the chanting died down, an Evanston resident passed by the group and started the chants up again. 

Once the students reached Fountain Square, senior Lily Aaron, one of the lead organizers of the march, addressed the crowd regarding the importance of climate action.

“Folks who are actually going to do something about the crisis at hand will not stand by while [Evanston’s city council fails] us,” Aaron said. “We demand that the City of Evanston implement CARP and the rigorous climate policy that we deserve.” 

Protestors were encouraged to call their aldermen, requesting that they implement CARP (Climate Action and Resilience Plan), which was approved by the Evanston City Council in late 2018. The plan calls for carbon neutrality and zero waste by 2050 as well as 100% renewable electricity by 2030, among other goals.

“[CARP] has had a few…resolutions passed in respect to it, but very few ordinances,” junior and Etown Sunrise organizer Emmet Ebels-Duggan said. “The resolutions are more of a commitment to do something; ordinances are what actually does something.”

While students were phoning city council members, Sunrise organizers passed out chalk so the crowd could write messages around Fountain Square ranging from demands for CARP implementation to drawings of The Lorax.

After hearing from Sunrise organizers, an NU student protestor, and two aldermen, the march concluded with many students feeling hopeful about the impact of the walkout.

“The issue [of climate change] is so big that I began to wonder, what can one person do? And I think that what one person can do is make their voice heard and get other people involved, and, really, that’s how change is going to happen,” senior Cooper Stringer said.

While CARP has not been implemented yet because of a perceived lack of resources, the walkout shows that ETHS students see the plan as an opportunity to reduce Evanston’s impact on the environment, which is imperative to ensure this community’s future.