Guest editorial: Students have the power to demand action on climate change

Naomi Smith
Park City High School junior

Not many people know what power feels like. How the positive electricity and sparks shoot through your bones and brain and all of a sudden, you know why you are on this Earth. That is how I felt on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 20, and I can tell you, from experience, that having power is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world.

On that day, most people all around the world got out of bed for their daily routines and daily commutes to work, but there was a group of people who didn’t follow the rules. These people had the courage and defiance to rise up against social norms. That group comprised 4 million people from all walks of life, but the majority were students. These people decided that they need a change. They are tired of the constant excuses and exclusion of environmental issues from conversations in everyone’s lives. So they stood up and they took in the power they deserved and had been waiting for.

It was a rare day because it was the largest environmental strike in U.S. history. Now that means something. While the news and media focus on President Trump’s future, students around the world are striking for THEIR future. They want to send one message to politicians across the globe: Save our planet. While the media and the entire world focus on the royals in London and politicians making mistakes around the globe, no one has been focused on Greta Thunberg, the leader of the Fridays For Future Movement. She is the most prominent leader among the younger generations. Politicians are making a crucial mistake by not addressing the state of the climate. The media fails to mention that there are students skipping school every Friday to fight for their future and the futures of their peers.

I have discovered that the youth are generally portrayed as “meek” by the media because they have, unfortunately, realized that they don’t get everything they ask for. The difference is that we are not asking for change. WE ARE DEMANDING CHANGE. We are striking for change. We are striking because the world needs to declare the state of the planet an emergency. We have been warned continuously by scientists and few are listening.

To repeat, power is an amazing feeling and just because politicians have power does not mean they use it wisely. I felt empowered on Sept. 20 because I knew that I was striking with 4 million other people around the globe. We were all fighting for the same cause. That power gave me and many of my friends a voice. Standing up, outside the Capitol in Salt Lake City, I was among 2,000 other students around Utah who all believe what I believe. We all had power that day and we will continue to increase that power until somebody listens.

We need your voices. We need you. We have a message to the people who want to disprove us: There is no stopping us now because we have only just begun.

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