“This generation of K-12 students are living at an unprecedented time in human history, with each year in their young lives hotter than the last,” said Peter Cornelison, a Friends of the Columbia Gorge field representative.
Research recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that July 2019 was Earth’s hottest month in 140 recorded years.
According to senior Lillie Tomlinson, co-leader of the Hood River Valley High School (HRVHS) Earth Action Club, “We don’t feel like we have a choice. Politicians and fossil fuel companies have known about climate change for decades, yet very little has been done. The quest for profit over life now threatens our very existence. The crisis is real and it cannot be ignored any longer. I worry about my future every day; this is a new reality for young people.”
Tomlinson said the group decided to encourage community participation in events rather than to stage a school strike or walkout.
However, she said, “I personally will not be attending school Friday, to prepare for a future I might not have, and I encourage other students to do the same.”
On Sept. 20, people are encouraged to wear black and gather at Overlook Park at Second and State streets in Hood River to participate in the strike, either for an hour or the day. Homemade signs are welcome.
Music will start at 3:30 p.m. and at 4 p.m., a rally will take place with speeches from youth leaders, followed by a demonstration, depicting the ultimate effect on humans if climate change continues unchecked.
Cornelison said, “Climate change is a serious threat to the Columbia River Gorge. In solidarity with the students leading climate strike efforts around the region, our offices in Hood River, Washougal and Portland will be closed to the public Sept. 20.”
In New York City, on Saturday, Sept. 21, the UN will convene its first ever Youth Climate Summit, attended by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Hood River High School Senior Eva Jones. The summit will provide a platform for young climate leaders to showcase their solutions on a global stage and engage directly with decision-makers.