Just outside the Washington County Historical Society museum on Friday, 80 environmental activists spent the morning demanding action to fight climate change.
Activists as young as 5 years old lined the sidewalks outside the museum, waving signs with messages ranging from “We are the next endangered species” to “There is no planet B” as cars passed them at the corner of College Avenue and Dickson Street.
The event was the local kickoff to the Global Climate Strike, a worldwide event from Sept. 20-27, during which people in more than 150 countries are leaving work or school to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels,” according to Global Climate Strike.
Senior Andie Watson, who attended the strike, hopes legislators will recognize that more people are working to combat climate change than they might think, she said.
“Everyone feels like they’re just one person and they can’t do anything alone, but when you see how many people care, that's what gets you willing to try,” Watson said. “That’s what makes change actually possible.”
Rachel Munoz joined the protest despite coming from a conservative family that did not believe climate change was an issue, she said.
“You didn’t think for yourself. It was more like, ‘we’re Republican, and we’re conservative, and that’s it,’” Munoz said.
Knowing that some people still do not believe in climate change, Munoz thinks it is important to continue to foster open conversation and to always be open to learning.
Jackie Arguilar-Vega joined the strike alongside her thirteen-year-old daughter Juliet to help teach her the importance of protecting the environment, she said.
“Hopefully we don’t have to keep fighting for that long. We need change soon because time is running out,” Arguilar-Vega said.
Sydney Coleman, 11, thinks that the younger generation’s future rests in the hands of adults right now, she said. She hopes adults will acknowledge protesters along with their message that global warming is real and will take action to help create a safer future for next generations.
The protests began three days before the UN Climate Change Summit on Sept. 23. The summit, to be led by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, aims to gather world leaders to assemble a plan on ways to fulfill the Paris Agreement as they meet in the UN Headquarters in New York.
Northwest Arkansas activists will gather for another climate strike at the Fayetteville Town Center from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 27. NWA Climate Strike includes a bike rally, activities, and live music from local performers. The event will feature guest speaker Steve Boss, UA professor of environmental dynamics & sustainability, along with different student advocates for climate change.