Hundreds of ETHS students organize walkout for climate action
Hundreds of Evanston Township High School students walked out of the classroom and marched to Fountain Square during a climate justice protest on Friday afternoon. During the rally, students, residents and city council members gave speeches demanding that the city immediately commit funds to its Climate and Resilience Action Plan (CARP).
Local climate action group E-Town Sunrise hosted the event on October 22, where students also spent time calling their council members and Mayor Daniel Biss to ask the city to declare a local climate emergency and implement CARP.
“People who are really going to do something about the current crisis will not stand idly by [elected officials] fail us, ”said Lily Aaron, E-Town Sunrise student leader and Citizens’ Greener Evanston board member. “We demand that the Town of Evanston implement CARP and the tough climate policy we deserve. Change happens whether they like it or not.
Several speakers also said that climate action and climate justice cut across all the issues the city is tackling, from housing to infrastructure to equity, which is why they deemed it essential to integrate the climate plan. of Evanston in his other plans for the future.
“Those of us who have air conditioning, health insurance and fresh water nearby will not be so affected by this crisis as those with fewer resources,” said Rachel Rosner, parent of a ETHS graduate and president of citizens. ‘Evanston greener. “As a community that cares about justice and cares about people around the world, we must lead the way. If Evanston can’t do it, who the hell can?
Among other things, the Evanston CARP sets out goals to become a zero carbon, zero waste community by 2050 and develop greener infrastructure like permeable parking lots, rain gardens and more.
Officials support action on CARP goals
Council member Bobby Burns, who represents the Fifth Ward, spoke at the rally and said he hoped the city would be able to devote millions of dollars to funding the US bailout for CARP projects. .
“One of the things that I wish we had done as a city is set aside a large amount of money that we could use to make sure we could implement our climate action plan soon. that it will be finished, ”Burns said. “We will not move forward on climate action the way we need to unless the city commits the funds to do so.”
In an interview with the Roundtable, Mayor Biss acknowledged that the pandemic had significantly delayed the implementation of CARP, but he also recognized the need for Evanston to act quickly to turn the plans into physical infrastructure.
Other students who addressed the crowd said their generation must demand climate justice because they will be the ones who will feel the consequences of elected officials’ inaction.
According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in August, the next 30 years of worsening climate disasters are already irreversible based on current levels of carbon in the atmosphere. This investigation also declared a “code red” situation where the world must act immediately to prevent an impending global climate catastrophe.
“We’re tired of having to constantly be afraid of what’s going to happen,” said Pablo Rodriguez-Cuevas, a Northwestern student who addressed the crowd. “So if they don’t listen to us, we’ll vote for someone who does.”