Environment

Youth Activists Plan Climate Strike

Students will walk out on October 29 as part of a national climate protest

Tamarah Minami talks to a crowd at a previous climate strike. Photo: Erin Malsbury

Flyers? Check. Safety guards? Check. Sound systems? Maybe one or two more bullhorns … Speeches? In progress. Signs and banners? Route maps? Permits? Radio announcements? Conversations with school administrators?

On Sunday, a group of about 10 local activists met at a coffee shop downtown to review final logistics for an upcoming climate strike. Tamarah Minami, a sophomore at Santa Cruz High School and organizer for Youth for Climate Justice, led the group through the agenda.

They discussed where to walk, safety, funding, outreach and details of the event down to what music to play. The organizers have met weekly for more than a month to plan a walk-out scheduled for Friday, Oct. 29. On that day, groups around the country will strike in support of the organization Fossil Free Futures’ day of action.

Getting the word out has proven extra challenging this year. The recent rain delayed putting up flyers, and virtual lectures prevent speakers from showing up to talk with students before or after classes. One UCSC student suggested putting flyers up in bathroom stalls. “It’s a great way to get a captive audience,” she chuckled. 

Despite the challenges, the young organizers feel optimistic about the turnout. They plan to lead students from UCSC and seven local middle and high schools to the Wells Fargo bank and the farmers’ market downtown. In addition to signs and banners, the protesters will have speakers, music and an open mic. 

They want to draw attention to a list of six local demands:

  • 1. The City and County of Santa Cruz implements a plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • 2. The City of Santa Cruz stops subsidizing automobile emissions by discontinuing plans to use public land and money to build a large parking garage on the site of the Farmer’s Market. 
  • 3. The California Teachers Union divests retirement funds from fossil fuels. 
  • 4. Santa Cruz City Schools implements a Greenhouse Gas inventory and Climate Action plan
  • 5. Local Schools and Universities mandate climate curriculum at all grade levels.  
  • 6. UCSC adopts the UC Green New Deal put forward by the UC GND Coalition 

“I’m really excited that we have these concrete demands,” says Minami. “This is a chance for us to actually get some of those done.”

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