by Tigerlily Theo Hopson
On Monday, January 27th, a diverse group of more than 20 students from consortium schools all over New York City met at Julia Richman Education Complex to talk about the existential threat of our generation— climate change.
Teachers from project based schools, like East Side, meet annually after roundtables week to talk and reflect on teaching strategies. This year, with the rise of student climate activism, they offered a room for students to meet and speak about their experiences organizing and attending climate related workshops and strikes. Some students at the conference were members and leaders of their school’s “green team,” while others hoped to get more involved, or even start up their own environmental club at school.
A representative from the Sunrise Movement, an organization run by young people who aim to end climate change, talked to students at the conference about Sunrise’s action plan, which in a nutshell came down to this: to organize, to vote, and to strike. On April 22nd, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, there will be another climate strike, where the Sunrise Movement hopes to gather a crowd twice as large as the one on September 20th, 2019.
Students brainstormed ideas on how to get a large turnout from their schools for the April Earth Day walkout. Suggestions included to post information on social media, make flyers, communicate with teachers, and talk to a wide variety of students. “A billion animals have died in Australian fires, the world is dying, the question is, what are we going to do about it?” one student said.
East Side had almost 65 students walk out last September, so let us do our part and double that to 130 students walking out on April 22nd. As Earth Day approaches, more details about the strike and East Side’s role in it will be posted on the Daily Announcements. For now, Fridays for Future, an international movement inspired by Greta Thunberg, is having open planning meetings at 6:00pm on Wednesdays at the Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street). Anyone who is interested in helping organize the April 22nd strike is welcome. At East Side, the Student Activism Club, which meets on Thursdays at lunch in Amber room, also has a focus on climate change, and is looking for new members.
As Monday’s student climate change conference came to an end, a feeling of hope and unity filled the air. Climate change affects all of us. We must all fight together.