At 11:11 a.m., students walk out of their classrooms against their administrations, heading for the heart of Ann Arbor. A crowd of over a hundred people starts to form in the center of the diag; it starts to drizzle and the paper banners that scream to take notice of climate change become heavy with water droplets. Despite the poor weather, the crowd is charged. The speakers in front of the audience stand on the steps leading to the Hatcher Graduate Library, demanding a greener future for generations to come.
Community High School Senior Cam Schnitzer proudly raises his homemade banner to the sky.
In over one hundred countries, thousands of climate strikes took place around the world on Friday, March 15. Dubbed the ‘Global Climate Strike For Future’, the call to strike was started by Swedish political activist Greta Thunberg, who requested that students protest in front of their city’s town hall every Friday. The protests’ intent is to send a message to those in powerful positions, including government figures and those with prominent social and fiscal influence, that action must be taken immediately towards a more environmentally friendly future.
The strike in Ann Arbor featured many prominent figures, including past Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and State Democratic Representative Yousef Rabhi. The majority of those in the audience were students, coming from high schools and colleges across Washtenaw County.
Paige Duff, one of the speakers and a junior at Community High School, explained what people can do to help change the course of the future.
Speakers and Community High School juniors Paige Duff and Ruby Taylor shout chants out that are amplified by the crowd. "Corporate greed; We must fight; Polluting Earth is not a right!"
“While doing what you can make an undeniable difference, the majority of this responsibility is not on the common people,” Duff said. “Our government is failing us. That means voting, rallying, making ourselves unignorable. That means calling and writing representatives. That means using our privilege and our platforms to start discussions with those in office, and those running for office. That means being brave.”
Speakers called for the initiation of the Green New Deal, a set of legal maxims that would move towards a more environmentally stable economic structure. They discussed the many facets in which the government’s apathy towards climate change affects society, from afflicting adverse health effects disproportionately to minorities to relying too much on fossil fuels, a quickly depleting energy source.
After the rally, a march through the streets of Ann Arbor was initiated to the University of Michigan Fleming Administration building in order to chant demands outside of the University of Michigan president Mark S. Schlissel’s office.
Protesters round E. Liberty Street and North Division Street.
Organizers of the rally have called to make changes on a global and local scale, including re-entering the Paris Agreement, ending government fossil fuel subsidies, and holding institutions accountable for their carbon footprint. A complete list of the organization’s goals can be found by clicking here.