WENATCHEE — Wenatchee High School junior Shaena Morgan wants to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on future generations.
She is taking her concerns to city hall Friday and is hoping other students — and community members — will join in the effort that is part of U.S. Youth Climate Strike’s nationwide event.
“I got involved through Washington Youth Climate Strike,” Morgan said. “Climate change is a problem we are having. Sea levels are rising, creating life-and-death situations for people. I got involved with this to see if we can spark change. We would like to see the city fossil-fuel free by 2035.”
She and Isabelle Smith, a WHS sophomore, are co-leaders on the project.
They’ve spent the past few months learning the issues and are now hoping to share what they’ve learned.
“I would like to see hundreds of people there,” Morgan said. “That’s what we’re shooting for. Our goal is to inform people about what’s going on — to inform students and adults.”
The plan is to meet at 11:15 a.m. by the high school bus area and march, posters in hand, down Millerdale Avenue, Miller Street and Orondo and Chelan avenues to the city hall steps. There, starting about noon, a slate of guest speakers will address the issues. Morgan is one of those who will speak. The mayor pro-tem also will speak about what steps the city has taken to improve air quality and plans for the future.
Participants then will march to the Wenatchee Community Center Veterans Hall for a screening of the documentary “Ice on Fire.” The 90-minute film, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and released May 22, explores how to reverse climate change, focusing on never-before-seen solutions.
The film will start about 1 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
The nature of the “strike” makes it difficult to say how many students will participate.
WHS Principal Eric Anderson said the event isn’t sanctioned by the school and no on-campus event is scheduled.
He has fielded a question from one student about how to get excused to participate, he said Friday, but nothing beyond that.
“We are on a normal bell schedule for Sept. 20th. Students who are not at school that day must be excused by a parent, just like any other day,” he said.
The student numbers will be bolstered by adults from the community, though.
The members of the activist group 350.org Wenatchee are helping advertise the event and plan to participate.
The group’s members can be found picketing outside Chase Bank, protesting the company’s status as the top funder of fossil fuel infrastructure in the world. The group also talks up electric cars and solar panels at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market once a month, said member Sue Kane.
Others supporting the Wenatchee Youth Climate Strike include Wenatchee Interfaith Climate Group and Climate Conversations NCW.
According to a press release about the event, the students across the nation want:
- Laws to combat climate change.
- A shift to clean, renewable and net-zero emission energy sources.
- The climate crisis to be declared a national emergency.
In addition to learning about climate change, Morgan said she is learning about organizing an event, getting permits and finding venues.
“We are all working together and trying to divide the work equally. I’m learning to delegate,” she said.
For information on the movement, go to youthclimatestrikeus.org.