Davis Youth To Strike For Climate

By Max Davis-Housefield - 9/4/19

On Monday, September 2, students and a few adults gathered in Central Park to plan September 20th’s Climate Strike. Lead by Amber C.A., a Davis High senior, this young group of activists wants DJUSD and the City of Davis to increase their efforts to combat climate change. The Davis Strike is part of a Global Climate Strike, lead by Greta Thunberg, and a week of activism that will end on September 27 with a UCD protest. Groups worldwide hope that powerful adults will listen to the youth of our planet. They are united by one message: stop climate change while we still can!

Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old Swedish girl, pioneered youth activism on the issue of climate change. She started striking in August of 2018 and has gone on to speak to the UN and the EU. Joining her is a former Davis resident, fourteen-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor. Villaseñor has been on strike every Friday since December in front of New York’s UN building. Some politicians are responding with legislation such as the Green New Deal, but with a Republican-controlled Senate, it is unlikely to pass. It is now up to the children of the world to take action, and through strikes and protests they hope to change things adults cannot.

Through their strike, Davis students are asking the city and school district to lower their environmental impact. Through a reduced use of energy, waste reduction, fewer emissions, sustainable food, and renewable energy, they hope that Davis can be a pioneering role model to ease the climate crisis. During the Sept. 2 meeting, the group discussed specific demands of DJUSD and the city. For the schools, they decided that having zero-waste campuses would have a ripple effect with positive results throughout Davis. An important component in a zero-waste campus would be food. Students would have to either bring their own containers or pack out the trash, and the cafeterias would need to eliminate packaging and use reusable and washable containers with their meals. Students also hope that they will start getting fair trade, free-range, and local foods, as well as providing USDA Organic, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Allergen-free meals. Another way our schools should reduce their impact is to decrease their use of electricity. They should place lower watt bulbs in the lights, decrease the use of technology (which has an enormous carbon-footprint), and run AC and heating more sparingly. As for emissions, they should further encourage biking to school through an increased number of bike-to-school days, competitions, and other incentives.

The City should do its part through new laws and bills that protect both the environment and us. One idea from the meeting was a law to require that any new parking areas constructed must have a solar panel covered shade covering. This would not only be a great source of renewable energy, but it would also keep people cooler, protected, and safer overall. A second bill they should pass would require that farms within a certain radius of Davis could not spray pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, etc. This would also apply to homeowners and landscapers in Davis, some of whom currently use an unhealthy amount on their property. Although it might require a joint ordinance between the county and the city, it would greatly improve our air quality, and increase the safety of wildlife and pets. Lastly, and most importantly, the students wanted both the city and the district to do more to honor the Climate Change resolutions they have already made, and come out with more ways they can preserve our planet!

We encourage everyone to join us at the strike. Your participation could help change the world! It will take the form of a march, from 11:30 to 1:30. Protesters will meet at the Davis branch of the Yolo County Library and march their way to Central Park via the DJUSD offices and City Hall. Once at the park, there will be speeches, chalk art, songs, chants, and other forms of demonstration. We encourage everyone to come! Bring a poster and leave class at 11:30 to meet at the Library before noon. If you do not want to miss class, you can show your support by laying down in the classroom at 11:30. We are calling this a “die-in” to demonstrate our possible future. Writing letters to City Council, DJUSD the school board, the mayor, Governor Gavin Newsom, the UN, and Representatives Garemendi, Fienstien, and Pelosi is another great contribution to the cause. I hope that the student body will join myself and other students in striking for our future!