Paola Quijada (left) claps for the opening remarks at the Youth Climate Strike at Cal Anderson Park. There were a lot of of clever signs, but few could match Quijada's brilliant mix of 2000's humor and climate science. Timothy Kenney
, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, started skipping school every Friday last August to protest climate inaction outside Parliament. This Friday, hundreds of thousands of students around the world skipped school to join her. The first ever Youth Climate Strike mobilized student activists to speak up in favor of bold climate action and invigorate their local politicians into actually doing something.
Local youth organizers hosted at least 250 people at Cal Anderson Park to hear a series of speakers, many of whom were high school age or younger, and engage with local climate activists. Dozens of people called their local representative and buzz around the Green New Deal was everywhere. Despite well-known names like Dow Constantine and Seattle City Council candidate Shaun Scott, a 12-year-old boy named Taro stole the show with a passionate speech about voting out apathetic politicians. A passing truck blew its horn as the perfect exclamation to his final line.
Taro, a 12-year-old student at Kenmore Middle School, holds up a sign signifying the first year he'll be eligible to vote. "We're standing on the only rock for billions of miles that can support life and we're ruining it." Timothy Kenney
At least 250 people attended Friday's Youth Climate Strike. Many of them were students under the age of 18 who had to skip school to be there. Timothy Kenney
Ahmed from the Sunrise Movement shows a group of students the number for Washington Senator Patty Murray to urge her to support the Green New Deal. His table was hosting seminars on calling your representative and educating people about the Green New Deal. Timothy Kenney
A group of students raise their hands high when the speaker asks how many attendees are under the age of 16. The majority of hands shot into the air, showing just how much this strike was powered by youth action. Timothy Kenney
Students write letters to their representative at one of the several political outreach tables. Timothy Kenney
Dr. Heather Price (center left), a professor of chemistry at North Seattle College and climate scientist, poses for photos with attendees. She pushed back against people who said letting their children skip school is "child abuse" by listing the disasterous effects climate change will bring in the next few decades like water access, desertification, and rising sea levels. "That's child abuse!" Timothy Kenney
Vasilios, a 3-year-old attendee, was without a doubt the cutest activist of the bunch. Timothy Kenney
One attendee came fully dressed as a polar bear to attract people to register to vote. It was sunny and hot on the turf field, so she was probably feeling the heat even more than the polar bears. At least she gets to take the costume off, the bears are stuck with it. Timothy Kenney
Seattle City Council candidate Shaun Scott speaks on intersectional ways to address climate change that work for all people. He linked together Seattle's housing crisis, the needed investment in solar power, and sustainable development in a short, but eloquent speech. Timothy Kenney
Definitely a runner up for my favorite sign. Timothy Kenney
A father, daughter, and dog watch the strike from behind the Cal Anderson Park backstop. Timothy Kenney
One man had a oddly conspicuous book in his bag about "The End of Ice" and given the context it's fair to say it wasn't referring to the immigration enforcement. Timothy Kenney
An army of young students hold signs reading "There's no planet B" with at least two out of three holding it rightside up. In his defense, this is a chronic problem of striking. Timothy Kenney
Three youth organizers embrace as the very last speaker wraps up their speech. These young women and men have been working for months to gather a diverse set of speakers to speak on climate action. Timothy Kenney
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