Strike for the climate
A few minutes before noon Friday, students and adults alike flooded into De la Guerra Plaza. They carried placards that read “SAVE OUR HOME PLANET” AND “STAND FOR WHAT YOU STAND ON.”
They were participating in the Global Climate Strike, and students arrived from several schools, including Santa Barbara High, UCSB and Santa Barbara Community College. A Santa Barbara High senior, Evan Sherman, addressed the crowd of hundreds, explaining why the strike is occurring.
“We are striking today alongside millions of other students around the world to express our concerns for the state of the rapidly eroding planet and the state of our future,” Evan said. “Because acres of rainforest are cut down for farmland everyday. Because if the climate is left unchecked,” the world will see more refugees.
The students and adults present at the rally cheered and supported those who took turns speaking through the microphone. Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Das Williams also spoke up, starting his words to the crowd by expressing how inspirational it is to see their young faces rallying for their cause.
“We’ve been dealing with a nation that is asleep,” said Mr. Williams. “Are you going to wake them?”
The students yelled without hesitation, “Yes!”
Mr. Williams pointed out the steps being taken to improve the climate in the county.
“We’re building an anaerobic digester so that your food waste doesn’t contribute to global warming,” said Mr. Williams, who also described a strategic energy plan that involves getting energy from carbon-free sources.
“We are here to demand that Santa Barbara not only become a place of thought on climate change … but of action to fight climate change,” said Mr. Williams.
In the crowd listening to the speeches was Santa Barbara City College student Hannah Gonzalez, whose mother Jamila Gonzalez joined her during the march.
Ms. Gonzalez, 21, studies psychology and is looking for a way to merge psychology and the climate for a career.
“I would love to find a field that relates both of them,” said Ms. Gonzalez, who graduated from Carpinteria High School in 2016. “One of my potential career choices is i’d like to find a way to help fight against propaganda from the oil industry or tobacco industry that might help promote climate change or stop people from doing something about it.”
Ms. Gonzalez seems especially interested in uncovering the psychology behind advertisements, which project and embed messages. When describing a potential career, she said she hopes “to use the field of psychology to reveal whatever tips and tricks are used in advertisements.”
While her daughter was speaking to the News-Press, Mrs. Gonzalez glowed with pride. The mother said that she also cares about the climate and wanted to support Friday’s rally.
The mother-daughter duo shared how to have conversations with those who might not believe there is an issue concerning the climate.
“The best way to do it is to find common ground, to begin with something that you can both understand and relate to,” said Ms. Gonzalez. “Largely though, if somebody does completely deny climate change or they feel that there’s either nothing they can do about it or if they feel they truly believe that this isn’t something that’s an issue, I think the only thing you can do is sort of lead them to try to figure it out themselves because they’re not going to listen to you.”
Mrs. Gonzalez echoed Ms. Gonzalez’s thoughts.
“You need to just keep sharing the information and facts,” said Mrs. Gonzalez. “And try not to make it partisan because we don’t want it to be Democrats vs. Republicans. We want it to be everybody because it’s our planet, all together.”
Ms. Gonzalez agreed with her mother, “It’s not about politics. It’s about life.”
The Global Climate Strike will continue throughout the week until next Friday, when another rally at De la Guerra Plaza starting at noon.