Around 500 Utah students on Friday took part in a worldwide strike to spur action on climate change.
Students from around the state gathered at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. Strikes were also planned in Ogden and Provo. Their message: to put leaders on notice that young people believe that time is running out to protect the planet from a climate crisis.
“We’re just not doing a lot about it,” said Angela Hastings, a third-grader at the Wasatch Waldorf Charter School in Holladay. “And if we can’t do more, then it’s just going to wipe away our future.
Julia Smith, an eighth grader at Treasure Mountain Junior High School in Park City, carried a handmade poster that said “Heal Our Earth.” She stamped handprints on it to illustrate that solutions are in our hands.
“I really wish it wouldn’t have come to this — that we don’t have to do this, but I’m so glad that all these young people are here today supporting what they think is right – and what is actually right,” she said. “It’s just great that we’re finding our voices.”
Samson Osime, a senior at West High in Salt Lake City, said there’s a good reason students at Friday’s rally were emphasizing the life-or-death nature of the climate crisis. He said he wants his children to have the opportunity someday to enjoy the Earth’s beauty - and Utah’s. But he says leaders are dragging their feet.
“If we fix it now, we have a future [and if] we don’t, it’s gonna catch up to us real quick,” he said after speaking to the crowd spilling down the Capitol steps.
The students already have follow-up events planned to protest the use of fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. In a few weeks, they’ll take on the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration, which raises money for schools by selling the rights to develop fossil fuel on state lands.