STRIKING NOW FOR A FUTURE LATER – Ten La Conner High School students took a knee for the planet last Friday, walking out of school and spending the day in solidarity with teens around the world. They say they will be back. – Photo by Ken Stern
Ten La Conner High School students raised their signs and their umbrellas Friday, striking for the climate and their future.
They left their classes about 10 a.m. and crossed the street to the knoll in front of the elementary school, prepared for their day with blankets, markers and cardboard and had pizza delivered for lunch. They stayed out till the 2:40 p.m. last bell. The morning’s showers made their signs run, but the ten, ranging from first year student Ellie Fullington to senior and Associated Student Body President Samantha Nelson stayed, huddling together under umbrellas large and small. Tenth grader Chloe Cunningham said “I think it is really important for the youth to be heard. It’s affecting us more than others. It’s really important to be seen in the community.” Fullington noted her research found there’s about 12 years left to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before a tipping point is reached. Another student exclaimed, “12 years! It’s not enough time to have a kid.” The group was almost evenly split on their having children or not. Nelson said, “If we don’t change now it will be too late.” Kyle Jones, a 2018 graduate, said “Change has to happen. It has to start somewhere.” Miles Sidzyik, a tenth grader, worried about a huge problem that will only worsen if action isn’t taken. Senior Logan Lowery thought a Wall-e like ending is possible, a reference to a film of a planet of robots post-apocalypse. Senior Halen Cox brought up Greta Thunberg, as others did, saying “It’s sad that a 16 year old has to save it.” Some were critical of capitalism and economic growth. Cunningham said, “We’re at the beginning of a mass extinction.” Jones praised “ our amazing planet,” saying we have the capacity to fix it. Cunningham said in future weeks she is considering missing some classes but not the entire day. She is interested in restarting a student Earth Club. Fullington encouraged “spreading the word,” that “we need to stop taking what we have for granted. This is our world.” The students absences from classes were excused if they had parental permission. Students are allowed five unexcused absences then must meet with staff and a parent for an attendance conference, Lori Buher, middle and high school counselor, explained.. The La Conner students were joining their peers worldwide in a second week of youth led strikes. In Sept. 20 over four million people worldwide rallied for their planet – and their futures.