Nevada youth join in global climate strike, walkout from classrooms

kids these days
Students at Palo Verde High School during the Global Climate Strike, Friday, Sept. 20. (Photo: Michael Lyle)

Seeing their future at stake from the rising threats brought on by climate change, Clark County students joined in with people from around the globe to participate in the climate strike and student walkout.

More than 75 students at Palo Verde High School left class to take part in the demonstration. Other schools where students participated include Valley High School, Advanced Technologies Academy, East Career Technical Academy, Coral Academy of Science, Coronado High School and Green Valley High School also participated.

“Climate change is not a lie, do not let our planet die,” students chanted outside Palo Verde High School. “No more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil.”

Dexter Lim, one of the youth organizers, told the students they were making history by participating in the walkout. 

Standing in front of the school, students stressed the importance of paying attention to the climate crisis while asking fellow classmates to get involved with the ongoing movement. 

Some urged greater attention be put on the deforestation and fires currently burning in the Amazon rainforest, while others suggested converting to veganism as a way to lower the carbon footprint

According to a recent United Nations report, there is less than 11 years left to prevent devastating impacts of the climate crisis. 

Youth activists from across the globe have been taken an increasingly high profile in the push for policies to curtail warming, and demanding elected officials put forth meaningful solutions.

The Sunrise Movement, which has set up chapters in Nevada, is one of the groups harnessing the energy of the youth movement. The organization has championed the Green New Deal, proposed measures that take a wide-ranging approach in dealing with climate change, and pushed to have two climate-focused town halls in which presidential candidates speak on their plans to address the crisis.

“These are the children growing up on a planet that is dying,” said Matt Piper, an adult adviser with the group who helped launch the Sunrise Movement in Las Vegas. “The youth of today are going to school now and worried about what kind of planet they are going to have to live on once they leave school. So we’re demanding action from our world leaders to treat this crisis like one.”

Following the school walkouts, many of the youth, alongside groups such as 350 Nevada, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Chispa Nevada and Nevada Conservation League, planned to protest Friday evening in front of the Venetian.

While many students at Palo Verde were enthusiastic about the cause, Lim said he was disappointed some students weren’t taking the moment more seriously. But he views their apathy and general dismissiveness of the walkout as a reflection of what is happening in society. 

“I think this is a symptom of our current political climate,” Lim said. “When you see elected officials like Donald Trump saying climate change isn’t a real threat, I could honestly see how people could believe that. They’re our elected officials. We should expect them to be doing something that reflects the community. Unfortunately, men like Donald Trump are not.”

He continued, “unfortunately, there is only so much we can do to speak to others and convince them.”

Piper said the walkout is just the beginning and that the movement will build on its momentum. 

“I’m seeing the pictures (of the global strike) from around the world and know they aren’t going to be stopped,” he added. “I think the world leaders and fossil fuel executives maybe getting a little nervous seeing how many people are showing up around the world, and know we’re not settling for inaction.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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