“Young climate activists give me hope,” said Senior Mia Portner. ”We need hope. It’s hard to have hope when the planet is dying, but we need it. With hope we can grow and we can change.” Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, has gained international attention for her efforts, specifically in pushing governments and corporations towards addressing the climate crisis. Her influence has spread from her community to ours at an astonishing rate, often through social media, for her striking began recently, in August of 2018.  Thunberg has planned rallies and protests on a global scale.Thunberg started the School Strike for the Climate, also known variously as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate, Climate Strike, and Youth Strike for Climate. School Strike for Climate is an international movement of students who leave class to demand justice for our planet. One of these rallies was in San Francisco on September 20th, and some of our own attended to make their voices heard, such as seniors Mia Portner, Caroline Lannes, and Charlotte Till.

“I was inspired by… Greta’s passion and willingness to forsake her education for the greater good,” said Senior Caroline Lannes. Lannes joined several fellow members of the Walnut Creek chapter of Extinction Rebellion (a nonviolent global environmental movement) at the San Francisco rally. Another senior, Charlotte Till, said, “I have been inspired by Greta and how she keeps pushing ahead and has gained so much attention by being straight up and not being afraid to be radical.”

With the commotion that Thunberg has caused in the media due to her strikes, she has received an abundance of criticism from politicians and news networks. Many politicians, including our President, Donald Trump, have criticized her, in his case on the basis of her age. “The criticism Greta has received are completely empty made by politicians who don’t want to stop climate change because it means they will lose all the money they gain from environmentally destructive businesses,” Lannes said. “In truth, a lot of politicians are too old to know what they are talking about, and lack the ability to admit that they are wrong and they have caused the issues we are facing today,” Till said.

Thunberg’s influence has spread to many high school campuses. Students are beginning to create clubs and organizations to show their support, such as Portner who has opened her own Extinction Rebellion chapter here at Las Lomas. “I intend for the club at Las Lomas to function as a meeting place for the Extinction Rebellion group as well as a space for kids wanting to get involved in climate action to learn and act,” Portner said. “Our purpose will be to mobilize the youth and get stuff done. We meet in room 514 Wednesdays at lunch. Show up.”