Students traveled to Providence this past Friday for the worldwide “Climate Strike,” which marked the beginning of the U.N.’s Global Week for Future.
At the University of Rhode Island, organizers made sure that students didn’t miss out on the protests. Many student-run organizations at the University, such as the Sunrise Movement, worked to bus people up to the strike in Providence.
Joelye Land, an organizer for the Sunrise Movement in Providence, estimated a reasonable turnout in the city.
“[So far] we have 900 people of all ages RSVP’d right now,” Land said a day before the strike. “I think the majority of them are students.”
Land’s prediction proved true, as the strike in Providence proved to have a relatively large turnout. Protesters, mainly students, stood in the streets with signs reading “What I Stand On Is What I Stand For” and “I’m Sure The Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time.”
The strike ended up moving throughout Providence, starting at Burnside Park. From there, protesters moved through downtown up to the State House.
According to Land, the strike had many speakers as well.
“Many are high schoolers,” she said. “Some are part of the Sunrise Movement, while others are not.”
There was even a small strike on campus for students that couldn’t make it up to Providence. Through the afternoon, a group of about twenty students gathered on the quad with their own signs, adding their own voices to those striking throughout the world.
Protesters raising awareness for the climate crisis are far from done.
“There are more upcoming strikes planned for later in the year,” Land said.
The Sunrise and similar movements still have a lot of work to do.
“Our goals for this strike are to continue spreading awareness and drawing attention to this issue, from regular people and politicians,” Land said. “We need climate action now!”
Worldwide, the mainly student-driven protests were inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s protests in her home country. Across the globe, the protests were estimated to be the biggest climate protests in history by multiple climate organizations. Police in Berlin, Germany estimated over 100,000 participants, according to the New York Times. Similar numbers were seen in: London, United Kingdom; Melbourne, Australia; and New York City, New York.
Climate activists estimated over 4 million people participated worldwide, with people from Canada to Uganda to Pakistan having rallies of their own.
This was the second article I ever wrote for the Good Five Cent Cigar, and was published in the paper on September 26th. This was also the last article I would write my first semester of freshman year before I started following the Student Senate beat.