By Lorraine McCarty
More than 4 million people participated in a worldwide climate strike on September 20, including the estimated 250 to 300 individuals–from students to the elderly–who gathered at Risman Plaza on the campus of Kent State University, carrying signs and speaking about environmental justice for future generations. According to 350.org, the strikes drew the largest crowds ever, sending a collective message to elected officials and world leaders that swift climate action is needed now.
The local strikers included Jeff Ingram and Doc, who played their drums to encourage people to stop and listen to the speakers, and Renee Zimelis-Ruchotzke, who encouraged speakers and singers to take a turn on the microphone.
Lila, a high school student, said that it was hard to think about the possibility that her children won’t have what we have now. She said that she can’t vote yet but is encouraging those who can vote to elect good leaders.
Another speaker talked about the need for a new president and vice president. Other speakers talked about how corporations put profits over people when they should be putting people and the planet over profits.
Jess, who works in the solar energy industry, said that people don’t need to burn anything to create energy. All that is needed, he said, is to connect to the sun. Jess noted, however, that Ohio has a dismal goal of 5% renewables, compared to 50% to 100% in other states.
A freshman fashion design student talked about the lack of sustainability in the fashion and clothing industries. Other speakers encourage people to “be the change you want.” Kevin sang an original song titled “Garden of Dust,” which described possible consequences that people and the planet face with climate change. Other inspiring songs and chants were interspersed with the speakers.
Here are more photos from the local climate strike: