Western Michigan University students strike for climate change in Kalamazoo By Maggie Drew

Western Michigan University students striked for climate change along with millions of people all over the world in a global climate strike held on Friday, Sept. 20. Led by the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, the protest drew about 400 people.

A student joins in the protest with her fellow WMU students at the strike. It's estimated that 250,000 people in New York City and over 4 million around the globe striked for climate change, according to 350.org, making it the largest environmental strike in history.
Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition (KCCC) headed the strike in collaboration with several registered student organizations (RSOs) on campus. Tyler Boes, senior, global and international studies major, (left blue shirt) and Megan Nippa, junior, biology and environmental studies major, (right) were two main student organizers for the event. "I’m passionate for this issue because I feel society has lied to us about it, and I feel betrayed," said Boes. "I experienced this to an extreme level growing up going to a private school, and there was a lot of climate change denial at my high school... it scares me that society would do that to children when it’s our future that is at stake."
Students march to downtown Kalamazoo to join with Kalamazoo College students and Kalamazoo citizens for an event held at Arcadia Creek Festival Place that had a turnout of about 1,500 people, according to Nippa.
Students held many homemade signs in the protest, some reading "Denial is not a policy", "Act now or my snowflake generation will melt", and "The climate is changing why aren't we?"
"Our main message we want to send to lawmakers is that action needs to be taken on this issue now. We don't have time to wait, large corporations need to be held accountable for the damage that they've caused our planet," said Nippa.
One of the many organizations present at the strike was Extinction Rebellion. An "international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse," according to its website. The group helped lead different chants throughout the strike such as "What do we want?", "Climate justice!", "when do we want it?" "Now!"
"I came today because I'm passionate about preserving our earth and it's decaying rapidly underneath us from human actions," said Riley Richardson (right), a sophomore studying global and international studies. "I took away from the strike that if you get people together it can cause a revolution if the passion is shared by everyone."
Many political and social organizations attended the event getting students involved with their causes, all involving the environment in some way. Protect Species is through the Center of Biological Diversity, and was collecting student signatures fighting President Trump's removal of the Endangered Species Act.
Boes said, "We are going to be in the workforce soon, and we want students to be aware of activist issues before they get to the workforce so they can create change throughout their whole life."

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All photos taken by Maggie Drew