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Climate change strike in downtown Lowell

A group of climate change demonstrators gathered at the corner of Main and Hudson for two hours on Friday, Sept. 20. The group was led by Lowellian Nancy Misner, who said they were inspired by 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

“We're out here because Greta from Sweden asked people to come out and talk about climate change,” Misner said. “It's the climate strike, people are doing this all over the world today. We'll be out here from 11 to 1. We'll probably do it again if she asks us to, or maybe we'll do it anyway.”

Thunberg has participated in the school strike for climate since 2018. The strike usually takes place on Fridays in August, when, since 2015, young people across the USA, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have held climate change demonstrations instead of attending their regular Friday classes. The goal of the strike is to inspire their elders, particularly politicians, to do something about climate change right now instead of selfishly enriching themselves in the short term and leaving behind a destroyed planet for the children to clean up someday.

“Our house is falling apart, and we are rapidly running out of time, and yet basically nothing is happening,” Thunberg said in a speech at the Swedish parliament. “Everyone and everything has to change, so why waste precious time arguing about what and who needs to change first? [...] When I tell politicians to act now, the most common answer is that they can't do anything drastic because that would be too unpopular among voters. And they are right, of course, since most people are not even aware of why those changes are required. That is why I keep telling you to unite behind the science. Make the best available science the heart of politics and democracy.”

“You are never too small to make a difference,” Thunberg said in a speech at the UN plenary in Katowice, Poland. “And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. [...] Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few. [In] the year 2078 I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn't do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”

This August, Thunberg traveled to the US to speak at this week's United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City. Her 3,500 mile trip across the Atlantic Ocean on the solar-powered yacht “Malizia II” lasted 15 days. She also plans to address the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile in December.

“We think that climate change is important for the children, so we're here trying to advance that,” Misner said. “It may not make any difference for us, but it's going to make a difference for them.”

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