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The Stone Soup Leadership Institute
Global Climate Strike: September 20, 2019

On September 20th, 2019, our youth from Cape Cod, New Bedford and Providence joined the Global Action Strike. It was one of the largest single-day climate protest in history. 4 million people turned up to 6,000 events in over 1,000 cities across 185 countries. Youth people from around the world came together to demand urgent action to protect their future.

Greta Thunberg started Fridays for Future

In March 2018 Greta Thunberg began her first protest outside the Swedish Parliament. Her simple action has struck a global nerve.

   

Sign-Making Workshop

Youth prepared for the Global Action Strike by watching videos of Greta Thunberg and then making original posters. They read a story about the march for nuclear freeze with Brother David Stendl-Rast and Thich Nhat Khan from the book, Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories.

When I think of peaceful protests, I think about Puerto Rico. I wish I was there so I could have taken part in it. It was heart-breaking to see the Governor's mishandling of funds after Hurricane Maria and casualties suffered. So many Puerto Ricans were angry about it. They protested for 11 days, until the Governor resigned. The protest was nonviolent and there was no bloodshed and it makes me very proud to be Puerto Rican.

Maria Rodrigues

Cape Cod Youth Leader to Boston

Youth leader Jack McCoy from Cape Cod organized a group of his students to go to Boston to be a part of the climate strike there.

Traveling to the Boston Climate Strike was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. It’s often easy to get lost in the cynicism one sees on social media. Joining an event like this really helps to put things into perspective. I met so many people, both from my own organization, Sunrise Movement, and from others, like Extinction Rebellion. We all had a shared common goal - the eradication of the climate crisis. It was this unity that made Friday truly something special. It is a rare event in any era that so many people could come together for a common goal, and this was particularly special. The highlight of the event was the march, and seeing all the bystanders taking both pictures. Everyone had a powerful sense of hope. Sure, the world might be getting hotter. And sure, the people in charge either don’t care or are puppets of the 1%. But that doesn’t mean we can't win. And after Friday, I truly believe that we will.

   
New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford youth joined with others at City Hall.

When I first arrived at the City Hall there were a bunch of people so I knew I was at the right place. I met many good people. Vanessa who organized everything overcame her fear and organized something amazing for the Global Climate Strike in New Bedford. It was very successful and everyone had a good time. It felt really great to be one of the 4 million people protesting. I know that every change starts with one person and the fact that it grew to 4 million people is crazy! When stone soup arrived with pizzas and drinks it was fun. We went to the bus station and gave fliers and pizza to people in need, that made me feel even better. Youth want to make an impact and if people see the young protest, it could inspire people to want to join in and help the cause. I flaunted my poster the entire time I was walking home. I felt powerful.

Micah Ortiz

Organizing, and participating in the Global Climate Strike was a mix of emotions. I overcame my apprehensions and put together something meaningful to many people. Pulling up to the event and seeing such a large number of supporters was overwhelming and gave me a great sense of hope and happiness. There were those who did not agree with our point of view, but I feel it is important to not shift your own beliefs just so that others won’t be uncomfortable. It was a learning experience for me, since this was the first event that I organized or participated in. I am very happy with the outcome and I know things that can be improved for the future.. I met a lot of beautiful souls during the strike and I am extremely grateful for everyone's support. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that we were part of something so much bigger than us, and I hope this can serve as motivation for the younger generations to stand for what you believe in.

Vanessa Adams
Sustainable Agriculture Major
Bristol Community College

"Providence, RI

In Providence, 1,000 people took to the streets and marched to the Statehouse.

Being one out the millions of people out today was a great feeling.I have never been part of any protest and being part of this peaceful protest was something I would of never thought I would be part of it.New Bedford was full of kind people.I had the biggest smile when strangers would stop and support the climate strike being climate change is very important. The idea of standing in front of the city hall was a good feeling because lots of people coming in a and out of the building and the major will notice us. I heard lots of people came out today to show the world that it is possible because the People and ourselves are the ones that hurt the planet without even noticing it. If we slowly change our lives we can slowly change everyone else’s with one poster and your voice. Meeting Victoria at the protest was inspiring because she had told us it’s her first time. She stood up there for hours and although she didn’t have a lot of confidence it’s all about how you did it and what you accomplished. She's only 22 and she has a voice just like everyone else it showed she had a passion for climate change and she’s willing to overcome obstacles to be where she wants to be in her life. I couldn’t have asked for any better group to stand out there and have strangers admire our work.

Lya Perez
Highlander Charter School, Providence, RI

I see the Global Climate Strike as an amazing thing! It’s great to see a lot of people my age fighting for the future of our world. If the youth don’t fight and speak up about the challenges facing our future, then who else will? Greta is an amazing speaker and a peaceful protester for climate change and the things she is passionate about.

Dona Bonnie

People have the right to protest. It’s important to demonstrate your views when you think something isn’t right. I think protesting and speaking up about your thoughts, and beliefs is something you should do as a citizen of any country. It is important to speak up about climate change and to take action to impede the growing effects because it accentuates the views many people hold true to their heart on when it comes to our earth.

Ben Lobo

Greta is a big inspiration to our society because a lot of people are too shy to speak up and others feel like they are not being heard. Greta is someone that we needed, she helped to open our eyes and inspired the youth to believe that one person can make a change. People are speaking up more now and seeing everything Greta has done has made me feel like I can do the same.

Leaslie Perez

Ke-Shawn Bennett

My message is that we'll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones.

People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight. You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences. To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years. There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Greta Thunberg
U.N. Climate Action Summit
September 23, 2019

It really inspired me to see how a person can make such an impact on others simply by following their beliefs. I will definitely take that as an example of what’s happening to me right now. It doesn’t matter how small are your steps as long as you keep going forward.

Maria Rodriguez

I was glad to make a poster for the Global Action Strike. It was really inspiring because there were a lot of people that took an interest and asked what the protest was all about. There were a few people that just ignored them but throughout the protest, everyone was encouraged and brave.

Izzy Perez

It is amazing how Greta, at her young age, has been able to bring awareness to so many people around the world and to show that young people have a voice too. It is also incredible that she started by herself and then, 4 million people united with her for the same cause to bring awareness to global warming and that we must all take action before is too late.

Evelin Perez

The Stone Soup Leadership Institute

For 15 years, the Institute has been listening to and learning from youth people in eight global communities - from inner cities of Boston, Providence, Oakland, Holyoke, Newport, New Bedford to the Islands of Puerto Rico, Virgin Gorda, BVI, Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard and the Philippines. We are grateful for their wisdom and proud of their courage to share their voices with the world.