Sidewalks were packed at noon Friday as more than 100 protesters lined the intersection of University Way and Wildcat Way to take part in the worldwide climate strike. All around the world on Friday at least 3 million people at the time of writing had taken part, from New York to Tokyo to Ellensburg.

“What I find most interesting about the protest is that you have people of all ages, all demographics, economics backgrounds, political backgrounds,” said Kelly Dvorak, one of the members of the Ellensburg protest. “The planet doesn’t care what side of the fence you’re sitting on.”

The climate strike is largely the results of efforts by young people, perhaps most notably Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist who has become widely-known for her outspoken and viral stance on climate change. She testified to Congress on the same day as the climate strike, telling them to “listen to the scientists.” She was joined in her efforts by students around the world, including 12-year-old Aislin Paton in Ellensburg.

“Eventually it’s going to be too hot for people to live, and nobody is really doing anything about it,” she said. “It’s important to make sure there even is a future.”

Organizers here in Ellensburg are keeping with the spirit of letting young people lead these efforts. Paula McMinn is the head organizer, and said that she is trying to bring attention to the fact that adults in power are not moving fast enough to combat climate change. She has also been spearheading efforts to petition the city of Ellensburg to commit to 100 percent renewable energy, and can be found at the Ellensburg Farmers Market trying to educate people on climate change.

“We feel like it’s youth who are more concerned about (climate change) than adults,” McMinn said. “We didn’t choose the date for this strike. But it’s coincidentally a great time to be out in front of the new students and let them know that people care about their future.”

Many youths certainly are concerned, joining their families or coming out independently to make their voices on the issue heard. With a megaphone in his hand was 8-year-old Josiah Madrigal leading the crowd in chanting “protect planet Earth.” When asked to comment on his main message, Josiah had this to say:

“I want all the animals to live and I like this planet. I want to be here and show people.”


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