Students take to Chicago streets to push for climate change action

Annabelle Harris and Rosie Witt

According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, it is almost certain that the year 2022 will be among the 10 warmest years on record, which will be detrimental to our planet and its ecosystems. Scientists from the UN’s 2022 Climate Impacts report say that the overheating of our planet will cause irreversible losses, including the extinction of many species that don’t have the ability to adapt to a warmer climate. 

In an attempt to spread awareness about this very current and very important issue, a climate strike was staged in downtown Chicago, with over 200 people of different ages on foot and on bikes. The strike included many different climate action organizations, with chants, speeches and even a dance to “Stayin’ Alive.” One participant in the dance described it as “Bringing fun and art and creativity to fight climate change, because most of the time, these protests are very serious and gloomy.”

Those involved in advocacy believe protests like this are a good way to get involved in climate action, especially for young people who can’t do much more than use their voice to speak up about issues that are important to them. 

“I wanted to participate in this because I feel that I’m not doing enough to prevent climate change,” Allie Beck, a sophomore at ETHS and participant in the climate strike said. 

Even when it feels like there’s not much one can do personally to make change in the world, protesting and spreading awareness is always an option.

Emmett Ebels Duggan, a senior at ETHS and leader of E-town Sunrise, explained the importance of this strike. “The primary importance of this strike was to bring attention within Chicago and nationally and even globally with the 400+ strikes going on around the nation to the issue of fossil fuel funding,” they said. 

This was a huge event, with police clearing the streets for protesters on bikes and people honking their horns in support when driving past. People of all ages, races and backgrounds came together to fight for action against climate change.

Considering why it is so important for young people to speak up about climate change, Emmett said “Because it’s important for everyone to. I think that especially within climate activism there is an overrepresentation of young people, at least often in media, though I think that that kind of overlooks a lot of the intergenerational work that’s being done. I think that that media attention kind of feeds into a unique responsibility for younger generations. I don’t think that we have a unique responsibility. I think if anyone, it’s the older generations that kind of put us in this mess to begin with. I do think that we have a unique interest in climate activism given that we will be around the longest, so we’ll feel the worst effects as time goes on. To that point I think it was really great to see at this strike all generations were represented pretty well.”