The Global Climate Strike took place Friday Sept. 20. Climate activists around the world took to the streets to demand climate justice from their respective governments. In Sarasota, activists came out to protest in front of the Unconditional Surrender Statue. New College students carpooled to the strike and some were daring enough to bike in poor weather conditions. Demonstrators refused to surrender to the pelting rain and spirits remained high throughout, despite drenched clothes and soggy signs.
The Council of Green Affairs (CGA) held a sign-making event on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Students came to the Hamilton Center and were able to use their creativity to express their stance on climate change. Second year and Eco-Rep Tara Norton hosted the event and was ecstatic for the climate strike. However, recent budget shortages have made holding events of any kind difficult, as Norton had to buy supplies herself. Regardless of such problems Norton remained joyful as she continued to encourage students to come out and get active.
“There’s no money!” Norton joked. “No Cash Sucks Ass! I had to buy these posters myself. There’s not much of a budget and I know that’s a problem throughout the school so that’s really rough. Events like these are really important and it’s rough when we cant do anything to start them.”
The CGA also hosted a climate teach-in in HCL 8 before the strike on Friday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The teach-in allowed for an interdisciplinary approach towards the effects of climate change with speakers discussing a variety of topics ranging from eco-feminism to a call to action from Professor of Economics Mark Paul. Professor of Latin American and Carribbean Studies Hugo Vierra-Vargas shared a personal story about Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island of Puerto Rico in 2017. Vierra’s personal journey of coming to Florida after the devastating storm tore into the island was difficult to hear, as Vierra became emotional when displaying the devastation of Puerto Rico and telling his struggle of leaving his home behind for brighter horizons.
Afterwards, many students carpooled to the strike and some students dared to bike around three miles to the event in the pouring rain. Demonstrators of all ages and backgrounds came out to show their support and demand climate justice.
The Sarasota Students 4 Climate hosted the event. The main organizers Ella Mirman and Moriya White lead demonstrators in chants. Mirman and White’s commitment was a source for inspiration for many, although they are only juniors in high school.
“I’m out here to strike for climate action and to make sure that our government does us climate justice,” Mirman said. “The end goal is for the effects of climate change to not take over the livability of our future.”
New College students of all years made sure to go out, represent and make their voices heard. Students brought out their signs with messages varying from serious demands to humourous nihilism. First-year student Dylan Gelderman decorated his own sign expressing the unique Generation Z humor that most students are familiar with.
“I personally don’t plan on living that long, I’m thinking of dying in my mid-20s,” Gelderman joked. “But there’s other people that are gonna live and they’re gonna have to live on this Earth and that would suck if it wasn’t here.”
The Sarasota Climate Strike was one to remember, but it does not end there. The Sarasota Students 4 Climate will continue to strike every Friday until decisive action is taken on climate change. Climate activists around the world agree that the climate situation has reached crisis levels and therefore requires decisive action. The Global Climate Strike was not a one-off event and the Sarasota Students 4 Climate will continue in their activism and hope others will not let up in making their voices heard.