Nantucket High School Students Stage Climate Change Walkout

Jason Graziadei •

IMG 9937 a3ace661

The Nantucket Youth Climate Committee spearheaded a "Walkout For Change" at Nantucket High School last Friday morning in recognition of Climate Change Awareness Month.

The walkout - which had the blessing of the school administration - was well attended by the student body, and featured several speakers from the Youth Climate Committee. Below are some excerpts from their speeches.

Sarah Swenson:

"I want to go back to my pretty blatant metaphor at the beginning of this. If I lit this school on fire to get rich, people would panic, and they would be pissed. So why are you not panicking? Why aren’t you pissed: at oil tycoons? At our government? At the rich?

Studies have shown that by the year 2030, climate change will be on an irreversible course for warming that will be out of human control, and will likely lead to the end of human society as we know it. I will be 24.

Every day, around 200 species go extinct. We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction. Last summer, the North Pole saw rainfall for the first time in recorded history. Average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% over the past 40 years.

It seems like this amount of death makes it a crisis. A—pull the fire alarm, run out of the classroom, call the people who are supposed to put this thing out and don’t go back to normal until they succeed—crisis. But the people who are supposed to put it out aren’t putting it out. So we have to pull more fire alarms.

We have to panic a little, and we have to pressure them.

We can take half an hour from our day to join a protest adding our school to the list of schools telling them that what they’re doing is not enough. When you turn 18, you can place your vote with the politicians who will take the most aggressive action against climate change. But until then, you can panic, and you can get pissed. Because the only way things are going to change in time is if enough people pull enough alarms."

Ellie Kinsella:

"Climate change is a big issue with a lot of moving parts. It’s all overwhelming—believe me, I know—and not knowing where to start leaves you floundering and eventually takes away your want to do anything. Maybe you don’t know how to fix the leaky faucet, but I bet you that there is someone out there who can fix it. You can bring awareness to issues that people can fix or help through activism; and sometimes just bringing awareness to harsh realities is a crucial step to fixing worldwide problems.

Activists are not asking you to have all the answers. They’re not asking you to have some kind of deep insight into every issue surrounding climate change. All we’re asking is that you help us in our journey to educate; we ask that you bring up the topic to your parents, your friends, your co-workers, anyone and everyone. We ask that you stay up to date and educate yourself, so you can have good conversations with the people around you.

This is not an issue a single person can fix. It takes a community of people dedicated to helping the planet. Everyone matters in this fight, and please don’t ever feel like your voice is going unheard. Sometimes you just need a little help getting started.

So, here we are today as the Nantucket Youth Climate Committee, to be your catalyst for climate change activism as Greta Thunberg was to me."

Anna Popnikolova:

"I think a big part of why teenagers are sometimes disconnected from climate change causes is because we have difficulty visualizing the future. 2050 is a big benchmark date that activists talk about all the time — the shoreline by 2050, air quality, pollution, population growth, species extinction, etc. etc. But 2050 doesn’t feel like a real year. It feels like the distant, distant future where there’s going to be flying cars and holograms and things that we can’t even fathom right now. But it’s not that far away. It’s not even the next century. It’s in twenty-eight years. In 2050, I’m going to be 43. All of you are going to be in your mid-forties, too. It’s during our lifetimes; and even if we can’t imagine it right now, being middle-aged, it’s going to happen. We don’t have to stress out about mortgages and kids and retirement funds right now, but we need to acknowledge that it’s going to happen. Because, if we don’t, we’re just going to watch as the predictions come true. We’re going to become the statistic. One day, we’ll wake up, and it’ll be 2050, and the world will be different — but we won’t realize it. It’ll be completely and entirely different from the world today, but to us it’ll all be the same."

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News