Local support for student climate protest

  • Petersham residents, from left, Lynne Feldman, Jane Gilbert, and Kathleen Geary were among a group of about a half-dozen women who gathered on the town common Friday morning to support the School Strike for Climate, a global action by young people urging action on the climate crisis. Greg Vine

  • A group of about a half-dozen women gathered on the town common Friday morning to support the School Strike for Climate, a global action by young people urging action on the climate crisis. —Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 5/28/2019 9:01:22 AM
Modified: 5/28/2019 9:01:21 AM

PETERSHAM — On Friday of last week, hundreds of thousands of students around the globe walked out of their schools in a protest to urge action to address the climate crisis. The School Strike for Climate movement was started by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who, according to Time magazine, started her strike outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm in August 2018. The publication reports Thunberg has vowed to continue her action until her country aligns itself with the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, from which President Trump withdrew the United States last year.

Friday’s protests reportedly took place in more than 1,600 cities in 125 countries.

Locally, a group of women gathered on the common in their town Friday morning to show their support for the young people demonstrating worldwide.

“Global youth strikes are taking place today around the world,” said Lynne Feldman. “There were 1,623 at last count, taking place in cities all around the world. It’s called “Friday for Future,” and that’s students who are walking out of school to demand action to prevent climate catastrophe. We’re here to support the students.”

While none of those who gathered on the common are currently in school, Kathleen Geary said, “Some of us wanted to come out in support of what the students are doing. We wanted to say, ‘We’re also with you. You don’t have to do this alone. It shouldn’t all be on the shoulders of the young people.’”

“We are members of a loose group called the Petersham Huddle,” said Feldman. “We’re a group of women that came together after the 2016 election to think about what we could do in our community to make it a better place to live, to get together, to have fun, and to be supportive of the country we care about.”

“This is specifically to draw attention to the international climate crisis,” Feldman added. “The International Panel on Climate Change came out with a report last year which said if we don’t take drastic action to reduce our carbon emissions by about 50 percent by 2030, it’s going to trigger a feedback loop that will make global warming uncontrollable and irreversible. That means we have a short amount of time in which to take drastic action in which to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, like methane.”

Feldman said her children are ages 6 and 9, “so they’re too young to be striking. But I’m very concerned about what their future’s going to look like if we don’t take immediate action to reduce emissions right now.”

“I don’t have my own children,” said Geary, “but I have nieces and nephews who are facing this crisis and I want to support their attempts to bring attention to it and change our trajectory so that we might still have a livable planet.”

May 24 was a day the students specifically said would be a global action said Feldman, adding, “Some are striking every Friday. Some are striking occasionally. This was our first time out supporting them and we hope to do it again in the future.”

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