Students, teachers, and community members from all around the MVLA school district gathered Friday Sept. 20 to advocate for measures to combat climate change. They are hoping to start a discussion within the city government to implement the Green New Deal as well as other initiatives at school to help improve the climate.
Inspired by the national Sunrise Movement, students on campus formed a club designed for climate activists to share their ideas and participate in activities such as the walkout.
Club Vice President Carter Anderson spoke at Mountain View City Hall. He said the Sunrise Movement’s goals locally are to petition the school to reduce their carbon footprint. These demands, among others, are shared by the LAHS environmental club, the Green Team.
The Green Team put forth a specific list of demands for the MVLA district as well as Mountain View City Hall. This list included minimizing heating and cooling, increasing environmental education and awareness, and divesting from the fossil fuel industry.
“We want to build on what the school does to create a better atmosphere. So start having composting at our school, [and]use utensils and cutlery at our cafeteria that aren’t just plastic,” Anderson said. “We’re going to take as many small steps as we can… to try to work towards a better future at the school.”
According to the club’s PR Representative, Lissette Mejia, the club also hopes to begin more specific initiatives including planting more trees around campus, having meatless Mondays, and “other small things like that that can really improve the situation.”
“We’re comrades in a shared struggle for the survival of our planet and our species and sustainability.”
The demonstration was an extension of the global Youth Climate Strike spearheaded by 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg that calls for students and adults to petition leaders to implement the Green New Deal and reduce fossil fuel emissions by walking out of work or school on Sept. 20 and 27.
Sunrise Movement organized the protest in coordination with the LAHS Green Team. The Sunrise Movement board organized a small demonstration during break in the main quad, then invited others to join them and LAHS in protesting in front of Mountain View City Hall.
Prior to the walkout, students met to work on posters and signs that displayed messages such as “There’s no planet B” and “I’m sure the dinosaurs thought they had time too.”
Senior Sarah Teng carried a hand painted sign reading “fight for a future”.
“I just feel an obligation to be involved, I just feel like the Earth isn’t ours as just one species to destroy.” Teng said.
Adults and children from another climate protest at the Caltrain station and some community members joined in from off the street added to their numbers midway through the event.
The The Green Team organized the protests in front of City Hall. A large group of students and even a few teachers from the MVLA district joined in chanting “human need not corporate greed” and “this is what democracy looks like”, often following the student leader of the LAHS strike Anna Fletcher, as well as listening to student speeches.
Adults and children from another climate protest at the Caltrain station added to their numbers and some community members joined in from off the street.
“We’re comrades in a shared struggle for the survival of our planet and our species and sustainability.” said Seth Donelly, LAHS History Teacher and advisor of the Green Team.
Former Mountain View mayor and long-time environmental activist Lenny Siegel also attended the strike.
“Unless we act more aggressively locally as well as globally, we’re going to have a lot more disasters and disease,” Siegel said, “so we really need young people to stand up the way [young people]are today.”
These local goals are a part of larger global climate strike efforts, the official US Youth Climate Strike website listings illustrating youth support of The Green New Deal as a primary message of the movement.
The Green New Deal is an initiative proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey detailing how the government should address climate change and income inequality.
There are five board members of the Sunrise Movement. Julia Wagner is the president, Anderson is the vice president, Emer Martinez is the treasurer, Gabriella Dominge is the secretary and Mejia is the PR Representative.
“We saw a lot of what was going on in the world and we just really wanted to get involved,” Anderson said. “We wanted to find out how we as students could make an impact.”