Eyewitness Account: Youth United for Climate Crisis

Taliyah Cintron

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Though many teenagers feel their voices are not heard, the Climate Change Protest of Sept. 20 was hard to ignore. Many Santa Fe High students didn’t go to school that day and instead attended the protest at the Roundhouse. 

As I, a mere freshman in high school, participated in this protest, I saw people from all around the world, from places such as India and Hong Kong, and from schools from all around Santa Fe, protesting, chanting, speaking on microphones, and showing support for the cause. This filled my heart with joy. 

People told stories of how climate change personally has an effect on them and their families. There was an overwhelming feeling to this day, but it was not hate or fear; it was true despair and disappointment with the present state of government around the world. 

Several groups of people were scattered around downtown Santa Fe, but most of them mainly crowded the Roundhouse. A tall, skinny, blond-haired man in an orange shirt from Luxembourg said, “We protest all over the world! We pressure our government! We challenge the powerful! And we will not stop until they meet our demands!” 

His words were echoed by other participants, chanting with this man. While I looked around, a surreal feeling kicked in, seeing people’s eyes and faces becoming red with passion and provoked sensitivity. 

 As person by person stood in front of the crowd, they yelled into megaphones words of sadness and disbelief, expressing their emotions about how world governments have not stepped up and made climate change a bigger deal.

A woman with family in Alaska spoke of what her family is going through. She explained that the water is getting warmer and it melts the ice, causing her family to fall through and get sick. She also clarified that fish land dead on the shoreline, making it harder for them to gather food.

After many speeches and chants, a man began to recite a poem. This poem recalled his mother’s life 40 years ago. He said, “When my mother was tense she would go for a swim at the lake. She saw corals of many colors. Six months ago, I went swimming at the same place. The coral has lost its color. They are white now.”

While people walked around the Roundhouse, many signs said things such as, “There is no planet B” and a quote from everybody’s elementary school science teacher, Bill Nye: “The Earth is f*cking burning.”

After a quick break, the protesters — best friends, classmates, neighbors or total strangers — all joined hands in unity, but it didn’t seem awkward. They knew they were all there for the same cause. The people wanted to make a change, but as many are aware, not everything unfolds the way it’s planned. Yet many still hold hope in their hearts that this time it will.