By Kennedy Storandt
On Friday, Sept. 20, the Oregon Youth Climate Strike met at the corner of Newport Avenue and Wall Street in protest against global climate change.
The strike drew hundreds of people to the downtown intersection as men and women of all ages gathered.
Among the crowd, an abounding number of Storm students could be found holding signs demanding political action for climate change.
“I was expecting the energy to be mostly anger, I mean we have every right to be angry, past generations have created this mess that we have to clean up, but honestly, I felt like there was more feelings of hope than anything else,” said senior Lily Carson, who participated in the strike.
The Youth Climate Strike Organization is demanding the federal government take action to mitigate global climate by eradicating deforestation, harm to the world’s oceans, to promote ways of sustainable agriculture and to implicate the Green New Deal.
Bend’s event was organized by Freddy Finney-Jordet, a senior at Redmond Proficiency Academy, who was one of many inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg. In an impassioned speech at the Climate Action Summit in New York, Thunberg stirred both feelings of anger and urgency for today’s youth to take action for future generations.
“People are dying. People are suffering. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg said.
Coinciding with Thunberg, hundreds of protests have and are occurring in countries all over the world, including Australia, Afghanistan, Poland, India and the United Kingdom.
In the U.S., it was reported by the Washington Post that on Sept. 20 over a thousand strikes occurred throughout the streets of all 50 states. Schools in Boston and New York granted students permission to skip and join the effort. Likewise, numerous companies, including Bend’s local Thump Coffee, sealed their doors to business, encouraging employees to stand alongside the youth strikes.
When he realized there were no strikes being organized in Bend, Finet-Jordet was compelled to organize and lead the movement.
“We live in a democratic system that relies on the people speaking up in times of crisis and that is what we have to do,” Finet-Jordet said. “The more passion and urgency we show about the issue, the more our president, governor, state representatives, senators and just more people will be encouraged to do something to make a change.”