Claremont joins global climate strike warning of environmental crisis

Participants in the Climate Change Strike wave point out passing cars at the corner of Indian Hill Boulevard and Foothill Avenue. The September 20 strike attracted four million participants worldwide. (Alyssa Leong • Student Life)

‘You will die of old age, we will die of climate change,’ read a sign as Claremont residents and 5C students gathered at Claremont City Hall to draw attention to the global climate crisis September 20.

Around 100 protesters shouted various chants and a few gave speeches to express their anxiety, concern and anger over climate change – just one display of the pent-up frustration that has led more than four million people worldwide walk and speak out last week.

Claremont High School Student Eila Planincwho organized the Claremont climate strike, was the first of several to speak out at the protest.

“We are striking today, three days before the 2019 [United Nations] climate summit to prove to lawmakers that we care about this issue, our future and the future of our planet,” Planinc said, to cheers from the crowd.

Planinc has drawn up a list of reforms that protesters have been hoping for, including halting fossil fuel extraction, increased use of renewable energy sources and enacting the Green New Deal – a list of proposed legislation on the climate change.

Heather Williams, a politics professor at Pomona College, spoke about what she called the climate change myth: the idea that climate change doesn’t deserve special attention or attention.

“Right now we’re at a time where you’re basically the people who have to deprogram the lie,” Williams told protesters. “You have to break through and say… ‘That’s not a lie, that’s not bad science, that’s actually overwhelming evidence that our environment is changing.'”

A woman opposite the camera is holding a sign saying "Save the planet," with photos of Wall-E and Evee from the film "Wall-E."
A woman calls for action on climate change with a Wall-E poster. The September 20 climate change strike attracted four million participants worldwide. (Alyssa Leong • Student Life)

Claremont resident Kitty Robinson slammed people who don’t support climate change activism.

“They say it should be about facts, not emotion,” Robinson said. “But why am I emotional? It’s not because I’m illogical, it’s because I know the facts and that’s how they make you feel.

Later in the day, Claremont residents and 5C students gathered at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Indian Hill Boulevard for a second protest organized by Uncommon Good, a local non-profit organization. Protesters waved signs and chanted as cars passed, often honking their horns in response.

On the same day, other students traveled to Los Angeles to raise awareness about the climate crisis. The Claremont chapter of the Sunrise Movement, a national youth-led group fighting climate change, helped organize the excursion.

Eric Warmoth CM ’22, the Sunrise Local Leadersaid the protest helped engage young people in climate activism.

“It’s not about saying, ‘Listen to President Trump, you better change your policy because we have environmental activists on the streets,'” he said. “It’s about giving people the opportunity to get involved very easily.”

Warmoth said he thinks the strikes give people the opportunity to learn how to fight for environmental justice.

Emily Kuhn PZ ’22, spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement’s 5C members, agreed.

“It’s about connections…people meeting, collaborating on projects and developing them behind the scenes,” Kuhn said. “It may not change policies immediately, but it will change individuals, and those individuals will have a ripple effect on society as a whole.”


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