Park City students rally with Utah teens for climate change solutions

Julia Smith, a student at Treasure Mountain Junior High, holds a sign during a climate change rally at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 15. About 20 students from Park City attended the event.
Courtesy of Naomi Smith

On Friday, a couple hundred students from Utah schools walked out of class and gathered on the steps of the Utah State Capitol. They held signs and chanted, demanding that lawmakers take action to stop the effects of climate change soon.

Among the hundreds of students were about 20 teens from Park City High School who added their voices to the cry for climate change solutions. The event was part of a national protest organized by teens to call for policies that reduce emissions and waste. Park City students who attended said they hope to inspire change within their own school and community.

Naomi Smith, a sophomore at Park City High School, attended the rally because she wants to see politicians commit to change that will make a big, positive impact on the environment.

“I feel like, as youth, we (need to) stand up for our beliefs and show the politicians and people in higher power that we have power as well to share our opinions,” she said.

She, like most of the youth who attended, heard about the national protests taking place through social media. Carly Herr, a senior at Park City High School, said it was inspiring and surprising to see so many of her peers from Park City at the protest.

“It was really awesome to feel so included because it can feel kind of like an uphill battle with some of the kids in Park City,” she said. “To be around all of those students who had very, very similar beliefs was really invigorating and stimulating and made me want to continue on this path.”

She and Smith said they left empowered to do more, both individually and as a community. Smith is a member of the school’s conservation council, a group of students who educate their peers and implement eco-friendly practices at the school, such as recycling. She said she hopes to grow the recycling program at the school and do more to reduce the school’s waste.

Now that she knows another 20 students in Park City are interested in issues regarding climate change, she said she does not feel alone to implement those changes anymore.

The event gave students like Smith and Herr hope, but also made them realize the urgency to change. Herr said the goal of reducing the effects of climate change still seems far from reach. She said she hopes her peers around the country continue to call for climate change solutions in the coming years, and that politicians will listen.

“Our generation is the one that is most affected by the climate right now and the climate in the future. That is our future,” she said.


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