Philadelphia high school students hold climate strike

High School Climate Protest 09152023 Edit-19
Melissa Simpson

Philadelphia area students rallied throughout Center City on Friday in an effort to rekindle the environmental youth activism that engulfed cities around the world prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The young people gathered on the north side of City Hall before marching to PECO’s Center City headquarters.

Melissa Simpson

Some of the group’s demands are centered around schools. They are calling for better waste management and prevention practices; more sustainable lunches; and the passage of legislation in Harrisburg to create a solar grant program for schools.

Members of Philly Climate Strike and Fridays for Future – an international organization that grew out of the activism of Swedish student Greta Thunberg – collaborated on Friday’s strike and collectively sought to focus on local action.

Melissa Simpson

“Originally, some of us were talking about asking for Biden to declare a global climate emergency,” said Noa Fohrer, 18, of Merion Station, who founded the Fridays for Future’s Philadelphia chapter. “That is something that we do think will be powerful, but we also wanted to focus on some more local issues.”

They are calling on the city’s elected leaders to declare a climate emergency. The European Union, 18 countries and more than 200 cities, towns and counties in the United States have issued such declarations, according to the Climate Emergency Declaration campaign website.

Melissa Simpson

Protest organizers also want Philadelphia to match a commitment, adopted in New York, to reach 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.

“Climate change is no longer something we need to worry about in our future,” Fohrer said. “It’s something that’s impacting our day-to-day lives, and that is only going to get worse.”

All Images: Melissa Simpson