Students at King Middle School recently participated in a climate action march to coincide with the COP 21 climate talks, happening in Paris, France. More than 400 students at the Portland middle school were joined by the mayor, the media, and members of NRCM and other groups.
The students marched from their school to Portland City Hall, chanting, singing, and waving their creative, homemade designs. When they arrived at City Hall several students spoke, some reading poems, others simply talking about the realities of climate change and the fact that they do not see leadership from the adults who are supposed to protect them and leave them with a livable, thriving planet.
The King middle schoolers decided to march to City Hall to motivate City leaders to take action. Many described their disappointment that people seeking strong, effective climate action at the COP21 in Paris are prevented from demonstrating. So the students decided to march on behalf of activists in Paris and for people around the world who understand the consequences of inaction. They called for immediate action to protect the climate and keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Many students, who spoke both publicly at the microphone and privately to reporters, expressed their fears and hopes surrounding the most important challenge that has ever faced humanity. One student compared the realities of climate change to a science fiction novel come to life. The students showed an incredible maturity and understanding of the challenges we face and how this issue must be a priority due to threats climate change poses to their generation in particular.
Eighth-grader Satchel Butterfield said, “We’re the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and the last one to be able to do anything about it.”
Mayor Michael Brennan presented the students with a key to the city and told them they were his motivation to act to make the city a more sustainable place.
News media, including MPBN and the Portland Press Herald covered this important event, and so did television news such as Channel 6. Students at King Middle School are hoping that global leaders currently meeting in Paris will see their leadership and demands for climate action and remember who will bear the brunt of failure.
Mayor Brennan described several steps the City of Portland is taking to act to protect the climate and the students assembled at City Hall. And the students are full of great ideas that everyone can put into effect, from increasing recycling and composting to replacing outdated technology with more energy-efficient models.
Students at King Middle School are to be commended for their maturity, leadership, and action on behalf of themselves and all of us!
Our sustainability radar is always on, and we love to share. Do you have information about a great project helping to make Maine a more sustainable place to call home that you would like to see featured on NRCM’s blog? Guest posts and alerts about interesting sustainability stories are always welcome! If it is good news for our environment and involves Maine or Mainers, it belongs in the spotlight. Please contact Sarah Lakeman, NRCM Sustainable Maine Project Director at email@example.com or (207) 430-0170 or Ryan Parker, NRCM Environmental Policy Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 430-0144.