LAHS students walk out for climate justice | May 31, 2019 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - May 31, 2019

LAHS students walk out for climate justice

by Ray Levy-Uyeda

On Friday, May 24, Los Altos High School students staged a walkout to protest climate harm from corporations and the lack of action by local, state and federal legislators to prevent environmental damage and degradation.

About 20 students walked from Los Altos High School on Almond Avenue to the Wells Fargo bank branch at El Camino Real and San Antonio Road. Students stood on the sidewalk chanting to draw attention to what they called the climate negligence of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo for about an hour before they gathered to give speeches, recite poetry and discuss climate justice.

Tanshi Mohan, a senior and president of the high school's Justice Coalition, said that the group's goal is to pressure elected officials to endorse the Green New Deal, climate change legislation that was brought to the national stage by the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led grassroots organization, and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Mohan said that the students want Sen. Dianne Feinstein to endorse the legislation.

Students spoke on topics that ranged from the need for intersectional climate justice to the responsibility of big business. Zoe Brydon, a 12th grader, spoke about the impact of the wealth gap on one's understanding of climate change.

Brydon said that effects of climate change are already felt in poorer communities. "I think it's a problem that so many people won't act until it affects them personally," Brydon said.

Climate change impacts Bay Area residents unequally, Brydon said, adding that the unhoused or those who don't have access to stable and healthy housing will be affected first and most acutely by climate disasters.

Francesca Seni, a senior and vice president of the Justice Coalition, was happy with the student turnout, and wants those watching and those in positions of power to know: "It doesn't matter who caused the problem, it's everyone's burden."

According to the Sierra Club, Wells Fargo is one of the largest financiers of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a method of extracting oil and gas from underground rock that is water intensive and pollutes air and water. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, a global accord on combating climate change, Wells Fargo continues to be the No. 2 global financier of fossil fuels, just after JP Morgan Chase.

While the protesting students were angry and fed up, they were also optimistic. Adam Hollingsworth, a junior, gave one of the shorter speeches of the afternoon, saying, "I think revolutionaries have always been called naive. We need big steps. We need to be naive."


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