A group of R. Roger Rowe Middle School students brought the Global Climate Strike to Rancho Santa Fe on Sept. 30. Middle schoolers Fabiola Theberge, Maya Alam, Ruby G and Angela Aguirre were inspired to raise their voices by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who held her first climate strike alone in 2018 and sparked the interest of millions of children around the world demanding action for climate change this year. The group of Rancho Santa Fe students organized a short speech and a poem reading by Angela at the center of campus during morning break. Students, teachers, the superintendent and principals stopped to listen.
“The most important part about this all is that it’s completely child-organized,” said Ruby. “The generations that came before us have really messed up the planet. However, it’s not like we didn’t take part in it as well. Every piece of plastic, every time the lights are left on, every time you get into a car, it all adds up. Eventually the older generations will be gone and we will be the ones who will have to live with the effects of climate change.”
Maya said that the government needs to address the issue before it is too late, advocating for laws reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a “safe and harmless way” to get rid of trash and plastic and for the government to acknowledge the existence of climate change. Angela’s poem was about the “watery apocalypse” she fears will happen if temperatures continue to rise at a higher rate, ice caps melt and sea levels rise.
“The longer that we do nothing, the harder it will be to reduce the effects of climate change…it’s up to us to change the world,” said Fabiola. “It may seem like this gathering will do nothing, but it will. Our goal is to show each and every one of you that yes, other people do care what is happening to our planet. We hope all of you will leave here with an understanding of our world and a fire in your heart to do something about it.”