On Friday morning, September 20, some 200 members of the St. Mark's community joined hundreds of thousands of protesters around the world to raise awareness about climate change. While supporters of all ages turned out for the Global Climate Strike, the day was billed as a walkout by high school students to call on world leaders to step up their efforts against carbon emissions and other environmental issues.
St. Markers gathered in front of the cloister at 10:00 a.m., led by Alie Hyland '20 and Kendall Sommers '22, They were joined by fellow students Sky Davis '20, Jocelyn Cote '22, and Allison Bechard '22, all representing Students for Sustainability at St. Mark's. The formal walkout then progressed down to the St. Mark's sustainable meadow, beyond Lawrence Field, across from the Southborough Town Library.
"The climate strike is this generation's movement for change," declared Sommers. "Walking out is an opportunity to be a part of this century's call to action and pivotal change in the dynamic of the world and the way that young people are viewed. This walk out, this protest, this statement is lead by students. Led by us, students, who are demanding their voices are heard. So we have this walk out today that moves us and connects us to the globe, in the way that any crisis can. Because doing nothing is not an option anymore"
"Here are my two pieces of advice on how you can contribute to a more sustainable planet and a more sustainable St. Mark's," Hyland said. "Number one, try to consume less in every way possible. If you use a plastic coffee cup every day, get a reusable one, don't print to the library without getting your paper, because hundreds of sheets are wasted every day. Take less food from the Dining Hall. These are all examples of ways you can make a positive impact on the planet. My second piece of advice is to think with a sustainable mindset. Look for ways you can reuse what you have, consume less, and encourage others to follow you. If everyone looked for ways they could be more sustainable, the impact would be significant. So as you head back to your normal day, please don't forget that our actions now impact the rest of our lives."
Davis continued: "We are here to tell you that there are 11 years left to change human impact on our environment if we want to promise both ourselves and the generations after us a future. You don't need to become a vegan this month or drive an electric car or remember your metal straw every time you get coffee to be part of the solution. I don't. But you can buy organic or locally grown foods, you can reduce your meat and dairy consumption, you can use public transportation or carpool if possible. You can reduce your single-use plastic consumption, you can change to energy-efficient light bulbs, and you can remember to turn the lights off when leaving a room. They may not be everything, but the little things add up, and the more there are, the more progress we as a community are making toward greener living."
Bechard and Cote went on to quote climate activist and fellow high schooler, Greta Thunberg:
People keep doing what they do because the vast majority doesn't have a clue about the actual consequences of our everyday life, and they don't know that rapid change is required.
The event concluded with a quote from Global Climate Strike:
We, as a global society, are at a crossroads. We have a decision to make. Are we going to choose money or power, or are we going to choose the future? The September 20 strike is an invitation to everyone to choose us. Choose the kids, choose humanity, choose the future.