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Students demonstrate against climate change

Students march in front of the State House as part of national Youth Climate Strike

Trea Lavery
Students demonstrate against climate change
Students demonstrate at the State House. PHOTO: TREA LAVERY

Hundreds of students, as young as elementary school and all the way through to college, turned out Friday on the steps of the State House to tell legislators that they want to see action to combat climate change.

The students, along with plenty of adult protesters, were taking part in a national Youth Climate Strike to support the Green New Deal being proposed by legislators in Washington, D.C., as well as other efforts to help the environment.

Students march in front of the State House as part of national Youth Climate Strike. PHOTO: TREA LAVERY

Students march in front of the State House as part of national Youth Climate Strike. PHOTO: TREA LAVERY

“I think climate change is the biggest issue we’re facing today,” said Stephen DeBisschop, 18, a North Quincy High School student who joined the strike with his brother, Ben, 16.

As people around them holding homemade posters spilled off the sidewalk onto Beacon Street, the brothers explained that they had grown up spending a lot of time in nature, and are now studying environmental science in high school, which has opened their eyes to the effects of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.

Others at the strike echoed the DeBisschops’ sentiments, often quoting a United Nations report released last year which warned that the world has only until 2030 to stop the threat of climate change.

“If our future is at stake, we have no time to waste,” said Grace Grogins, 12, of Concord. “How long do we have? Eleven or 12 years? That’s nothing.”

The Youth Climate Strike website states that the goal of the nationwide strike is to bring attention to the problem and prompt the federal government to take action. Other than passing the Green New Deal, the demands listed on the site include halting fossil fuel infrastructure projects, declaring a national emergency on climate change, promoting education in schools about the environment and basing all legislative decisions on the most up-to-date scientific research.

In a statement, the Massachusetts Teachers Association voiced its support for the Youth Climate Strike.

“Students throughout history have been a critical driving force of social movements. Regarding global warming and climate change, students are taking what they have learned about science and civics and putting their education into action,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “The students leading this movement have demonstrated courage in standing up to the powerful forces that want to protect the massive profits being made by maintaining the status quo.”

At the Boston rally, student activists spoke about how environmental action was important to them, and how climate change has affected their lives.

Daniel Vernick, a 21-year-old senior at Yale University originally from Belmont, reminded the crowd that as an oceanside city, Boston is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels, and nobody more vulnerable than the city’s low-income residents.

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