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The Climate Reality Campus Corps at Iowa State organized a youth climate strike and rally March 15 at the Agora on campus. The strike is inspired by a teenaged Swede, Gretta Thunberg. The 16-year-old activist is known for her protests outside the Swedish parliament building every Friday to encourage support for the Paris Climate Agreement.

Ames will join the rest of the world in protesting climate change from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Ames City Hall.

Toni Sleugh, Iowa State junior and Climate Reality Campus Corps Chair, said they have helped arrange the strike since early August. They have been reaching out to many local organizations in Ames to get involved with the event.

Sleugh said they will be expecting a lot of young people at the strike, as it's at a time where most high school students are out of school and college students typically don't have class. 

Sleugh said they believe it is important for Ames and Iowa State to take part in this global march because it is small towns that build our nation.

“I don’t think we can make any change if our small towns aren’t connected, and we have the power to show everyone what we are asking for,” Sleugh said. “Just because we are young people doesn’t mean we can’t do anything, or don’t have power.”

Brad Wiesenmayer is the field organizer for NextGen in Ames and Iowa State, and he has joined the strike with NextGen to help represent the youth in this country. 

“NextGen is always committed to advocating for the issues young people care about and climate change is an existential threat,” Wiesenmayer said. “Young people are going to be around to face the consequences of climate change, so we know we can not afford to have climate deniers in office anymore.”

Wiesenmayer said he plans to register more people to vote at the strike to prevent climate deniers from getting into office and he plans to stand with some of the people that are already facing the impacts of climate change. 

The Sunrise Movement will also participate in the strike Friday. Wallace Mazon is a fellow for Sunrise, and he wants to talk to and engage more young people about the topic of climate change.

“I would like to see hundreds of young people holding their politicians accountable, speaking out and sharing their stories and showing love,” Mazon said. “Sometimes it does feel like we are alone in this fight, but when things like this happen you can see how many people care about this.”

All of these organizations were inspired by the international movement that was started by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg in August 2018, known as Fridays for Future. Students were encouraged to skip class on Fridays to protest the lack of action on climate change. 

“Of course we are on board with the strikes on an international level," Wiesenmayer said. "Greta is an inspiration for an entire generation of climate and social justice activists, so we are absolutely moved by her and can’t wait to support her in the future.” 

Countless people will be taking part in this event worldwide and Mazon said he believes if someone wants to act on climate change, they should, no matter what their age is.

“It is a global wide strike, and it is really empowering to know that someone who isn’t old or really established could have so much power,” Mazon said. “I think it is really beautiful, to know people across the world are standing in solidarity with each other for a common cause. It’s just beautiful.”

(1) comment

David Jackson

"Standing in solidarity" is such a pleasant sounding euphemism for mindlessly participating in groupthink.

How many trees did they plant? Now how many cardboard signs on wooden sticks did they make so anyone who couldn’t hear the chanting of emotional slogans and cult dogmas could read them, only to get thrown away after the protest?

But it’s cool, they all feel good about themselves for jumping on a bandwagon using a special needs child as a political prop.

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