Members of the Olin Community Participate in the Global Climate Strike

September 22, 2019

More than 125 Oliners, over a third of the student body, headed to Boston on Friday to join thousands of young people participating in the Global Climate Strike. And they got there in a variety of ways.

Some took the T, while at least fifteen others rode bikes and fourteen students left early in the morning to walk the 13 miles to Boston, a journey that took more than five hours. First years were most heavily represented followed by seniors. Those who couldn’t make it into Boston headed to Wellesley to take part in a separate Climate Strike on the college campus.

These events were part of more than 2,000 actions, involving millions of people, that took place around the globe from London to Johannesburg and from Sydney to Bangladesh.  

The worldwide protest, inspired by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, was organized to highlight the message that there is no time to waste in addressing climate change. In 2018, Thunberg began protesting by herself outside the Swedish parliament. Her voice has now become the catalyst for a movement of young people looking to motivate politicians and others to take real action on this issue. Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to take part in the climate protest outside the United Nations in New York on Friday.

Because young people have the most at stake, the focus of the Global Climate Strike was on students many of whom took the day off from class to voice their fears about the future. In Boston, protestors marched through the streets from City Hall to Beacon Hill.

Olin students were asked via survey to share why they wanted to participate in this action. The answers included: “This is probably the most important issue we need to work on right now,” and “I’m tired of our collective attitude about the environment being as careless as it is.”  

A large group of people gather and hold signs at a climate protest in Boston, MA.

Members of the Olin community participate in the 2019 Global Climate Strike in Boston, MA.

Senior Maggie Rosner said, “It is important to make a stance on issues that are important. Attending the climate strike is one small way to contribute to culture change and action surrounding climate change.” Rosner also called on all communities to do more including Olin. “The Olin community should be investing more of its resources to make the college more sustainable.”

For sophomore Jerry Goss, the strike was a big “do something” moment. “I'd been joking about all the disasters and problems going on from the fires at home in California, to the burning of the Amazon Rainforest,” said Goss. “But this was my way of doing something that didn't require inane financial contributions or long-term commitments or efforts. This was an easy way for me to take part in something greater than myself and make sure I stood up for something I believed in, to show that I count, and that I count for all of us.”

While Goss does not want to impose his views on others he said, “I do feel we have a responsibility to fight/undo/stop doing the damage we've done and do better for ourselves and those that coexist with us on this fine planet.”

Senior Christina Segar who attended the Wellesley Strike said she was motivated to head to Wellesley to “participate in civil protest and support the call to action” and add her voice to “the numbers of people to have a greater numerical impact.”

Segar believes the time for incremental change is over. “Big action needs to be taken now, and big action by powerful groups is driven by demands from people like us.”

Like Greta Thunberg who originally inspired the idea of a Global Climate Strike, the Oliners who participated in the Global Climate Strike are committed to the notion that when it comes to climate change one person’s actions can make a difference and the time to act is now.