Guest editorial: Student climate change protest was only the beginning
As a student at Park City High School, I continuously have the freedom to express my own personal opinions and be supported by faculty and peers. I haven’t always been interested in protesting or demonstrating, but the time had come for me to share my opinion and to try to demand change along with thousands of other youth around the world. Although I’m a person who generally keeps things bottled up inside me, this time I felt like shouting through the roof about what I think needs to be changed. My name is Naomi Smith and climate action is what I am fighting for.
I first found out about the worldwide Schools Strike for Climate Protest through social media, where I regularly check feeds on how to save the planet. I saw endless photos of students in Australia and students around Europe striking at school for weeks at a time in order to let their politicians know how angry they are about the current state of the planet and the lack of action. This idea of student activism was started by Greta Thunberg. As a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, she probably didn’t think many people would hear her and empathize with her, but students from around the world listened. We joined her and began the planning for the Schools Strike for Climate Protest. We needed to show our anger and demand a solution.
Personally, I couldn’t help feeling the desire to be a part of their worldwide movement to wake up politicians and let them know what our opinion is and that we must be heard. I immediately started organizing Park City students and the high school Conservation Council, to join the protest against climate change at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 15th. When the protest began, I felt anxious yet inspired at the same time. I was there, at the Capitol, along with many other students to fight for what I believed was right. It is my vision that someday soon, our government will realize that yes, we only have 11 years left to change things, and yes, once the planet goes extinct, all of us will disappear along with it. Standing in a crowd of students from all corners of Utah, I felt like I belonged. I was there to stand up for the Earth with so many other students. We screamed chants, listened to motivational student speakers, and held our posters up with pride. Never has it felt so good to be part of a movement that believes change is possible.
This Schools Strike for Climate Protest was the beginning of many similar protests to come. We, as students, have to make our voices heard. We have to show our pride and confidence in what we do and in what we believe. The Earth has done so much for us. Why shouldn’t we repay it? We will keep sharing our opinions until our government decides to wake up and embrace a sustainable future for generations to come.
We are the future. We are the ones who will be hurt if we don’t change the way we treat our planet. We need to make a change now. So be ready for more fighting, striking and protesting because March 15th was only the beginning.
“If you cannot love your neighbor as yourself, no matter who they are, start by looking in the mirror and see what changes need to be made from within.”