BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.
Dozens of students from area schools walked out of class Friday afternoon for a youth rally, part of the Global Climate Strike, to demand that leaders at all levels take action to stop catastrophic climate change.
Youth speakers at the event spoke of their fears that climate change is impacting and will impact communities locally and globally, but also showed resolve in their belief that individuals can take action on their own, and put pressure on people in power to effect change.
“I refuse to succumb to the idea that we’re doomed because I don’t give a (expletive) if we are; we have to try our best and act like the world isn’t ending,” said Michel Liao, a Timberline High School student. “There’s no point in moping around, because what if the scientists got it wrong? What if they underestimated humanity’s ability to solve, to compromise, to love?”
“So please do whatever you can to steer our story away from being a tragedy,” Liao said.
Sherlyn Mesillas Becerra, a Capital High School student, addressed the crowd, talking about their parents working service jobs nearly around the clock to provide for their children, but that the quality of their children’s future is uncertain.
“The government has ignored the cries of its people,” Mesillas Becerra said. “They’ve assured us that in 30 years, we’ll be carbon neutral, but Earth will not wait 30 years. We need change now.”
Sophia Puypy, a senior at Bishop Kelly High School, described her journey over the past year, from caring about climate change and not sure how to act, to getting involved in advocacy efforts.
“... I realized that the let-others-take-care-of-it mindset that I’ve lived by is the same excuse policymakers and world leaders have been using for the past decades to justify their inaction,” Puypy said. They noted that modern conveniences come at the cost of climate change and the devastation of communities.
“We’ve gathered here today to demand reparations … we’re gathered here today to make sure that there will be no more empty promises and that Indigenous, Black, impoverished, and diverse marginalized communities all around the globe receive justice.”
Some students are planning a rally in November in opposition to an Idaho Power study that considers cutting the export credit rate that solar panel owners receive for energy sent back to the grid, according to analysis from the Sierra Club Idaho Chapter. Cutting the rate would make installing solar panels less accessible, said Nicholas Thomas, a Boise High School student, addressing the media at the end of the event.
“It would make it so much harder to make strides in climate and fighting the climate crisis because solar is one of the most easy ways to convert to cleaner energy,” Thomas said.
The date of the November rally will depend on when a hearing on the results of the solar study will be, said Nikita Thomas, a student at Boise High School.
This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.
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