Youth-Led Climate Strike Occupies Palisades

The youth of the Palisades took the Village by storm on Friday, September 20, as part of a global climate strike that drew millions around the world. 

Organized by Paul Revere Middle School student Éva Milan Engel, hundreds occupied Swarthmore Avenue and surrounding sidewalks to raise awareness and demand action on the climate crisis. 

Accompanied by adult allies, climate strikers filled the Palisadian air with chants like, “The world is filthy and we are guilty!” and “You’ll die of old age, we’ll die of climate change!” 

Younger students from Seven Arrows Elementary School also marched through the Village, proving no voice was too young to be included.

Engel was happy to see the hundreds of local climate activists come together as she saw her weeks of preparation come to fruition.

“I was so thrilled to see [a large turnout] in the Palisades, and people from other communities too, who have come together and helped us have a voice,” said Engel in an interview with the Palisadian-Post. 

Students from nearby neighborhoods made the trek to support the global movement on a local scale like Iman Washington, a student at Westside Waldorf School in Santa Monica. 

Washington said she was moved to participate after hearing 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, speak about the disastrous effects of climate change and the need to be involved.

I think [protesting] is a thing that should be done,” said Washington. “It may not do as much as we want it to, and people may not hear us as much as we’d like, but at least we’re doing something. At least we’re saying something.”

Parents and grandparents also showed solidarity with the younger generation, calling for change in the status quo of climate change prevention.

“I have a son that is 15 years old and he deserves a future that is currently in doubt if we continue in the direction that we’re going,” said Robert King, a History Teacher at Palisades Charter High School.

The successful demonstration is only the beginning for the 13-year-old, who plans to continue the climate change fight. 

“Animals have died, we have lost forests we have lost so much and we are continuing to lose so much, [it would be] a shame if it all officially goes away,” she said. 

On Monday, September 23, empowered by the support of millions, Thunberg berated global leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit for not taking adequate action to reduce global emissions.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal,” said Thunberg. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.

“The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”