It was unseasonably warm in Boston as thousands met in Boston City Hall Plaza to participate in a school strike to address global warming on Friday, September 20.
As students gathered, temperatures approached 80 degrees, capping the hottest summer on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Approximately 115 Waring School students, nearly two-thirds of the school, skipped classes to participate in the Boston Youth Climate Strike, which drew more than 10,000 participants. More than four million students went on strike globally to protest climate change.
The students from Massachusetts had three demands for Governor Charlie Baker. One, to declare a climate emergency. Two, for legislation to be passed that prioritizes communities that are impoverished and affected by pollution. And three, for the commonwealth to stop the use of fossil fuels, and for state politicians to commit to the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.
“If we continue to be focused on short-term comforts while ignoring long-term needs, we will never be able to solve the climate crisis,” said Waring senior Betta Tham.
The strike began at Boston City Hall Plaza around 11:00am, where speakers such as Senator Ed Markey, Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, and several students from the Sunrise Movement, which organized the protest in Boston, addressed the crowd. They highlighted the need for legislation and the importance of stopping the theft of Indigenous lands for oil profit.
At 1:00pm protestors marched to the Massachusetts State House, where they called for Governor Baker and lobbied inside for the remainder of the afternoon. One plea was repeated throughout the protest and chants: “What do we want? Green New Deal. When do we want it? Now.” Students made it clear that they demanded action and expected Massachusetts to put legislation in place that is equivalent to the Green New Deal.
16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg started the School Strike for Climate more than one year ago. It has since become a global movement.
At Waring the movement is strong. Students and administrators have drastically increased their actions to address climate change through the student Sustainability Elective and recent architectural plans. Waring’s latest building will be held to the Passive House standard, which is one of the most progressive and sustainable certifications that a building can receive. Waring will be one of the first private schools in Massachusetts to build a Passive House building.