Chicago’s Youth – STRIKE Back

Serena Tran, Staff Editor

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Serena Climate

 “The oceans are rising and so are we!”

2019 has been a year of change. All around, more and more young people have realized a number of growing crises the world is facing, which can only be reversed if we address the issue. 

Specifically, the today’s youth have taken it upon themselves to lead many of these conversations and protests for change. An instance of this leadership was shown October 7th, 2019 at the Chicago climate strike. 

Like many other separate climate strikes, the Chicago strike was spurred by a series of international protests to demand action for climate change.

These strikes began in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2019, and were led by 16-year old Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. 

Thunberg decided to take action to address some of the environmental crises the world faces today, including climate change, global warming, water and air pollution, natural resource and ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and ocean acidification.

Locally, the Chicago strike was hosted by the Illinois Youth Climate Strike organization— the goal of which was to demand Chicago lawmakers to declare a climate emergency.

Beginning around 5:15pm, protesters marched from the Trump Tower to City Hall, where they staged a “die-in”. This lasted for 11 minutes to signify the 11 years we have left before the consequences of climate change become unavoidable. 

In order to unify the people, protesters were encouraged to wear all black and write phrases like “CLIMATE EMERGENCY!” on their arms in red marker.

Although this was a youth based strike, older generations were encouraged to support the cause as well.

To raise awareness for these environmental issues and the strike at DePaul, “Forces of Nature” (Environmental Club) sold stickers and biodegradable earth seed packets. More than half of the proceeds went to Gateway Green, a non-profit organization geared towards cleaning and beautifying Chicago neighborhoods and expressways. 

Additionally, a few members of Forces of Nature headed downtown to participate in the strike. 

Statistically, an estimated 2.2 billion tons of waste is dumped in our oceans yearly, 2.3 trillion tons of carbon dioxide has been added to our atmosphere in the last 200 years, and 27% of coral reefs and 25% of marine life has been destroyed. 

In the last decade, approximately 2.4 billion people were affected by climate related disasters, compared to the 1.7 billion in the previous decade. 

As the saying goes, this generation is the generation of change—time and time again, we have seen the youth step up to the occasion. If we don’t step to stop climate change there won’t be a future to fight for!