Christopher Newport Students strike for climate action

One week before the Global Youth Strike, students joined global activist Greta Thunberg in her Friday for Future demonstration

On Friday, September 13th, one week before the Global Youth Climate Strike expects to bring millions of young people from around the world to the streets to demand climate action, Christopher Newport students travelled to the White House to join youth climate activist Greta Thunberg in her 56th “Fridays for Future” school strike. I was honored to join this march around the ellipses of the White House with around 1,500 total activists, ranging in age from the elderly to toddlers with their parents, all coming together to urge climate action. Most of the protesters were, like myself and fellow students Josh Scrabeck, Ashley McHenry and Kaylee Jones, K-12 or college students who decided to leave their educational obligations for the day to support the fight for our generation’s future. Altogether, this event was one of the most inspiring and life-changing moments I have experienced because of the solidarity and passion displayed by this diverse crowd following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg.

When she was only 15 years old, Greta Thunberg began receiving media attention last fall when she skipped school to protest at the Swedish parliament building for climate action. 

After all, 2018 was the hottest summer recorded in Sweden in the past 262 years, and Thunberg has avidly professed that there is no point in her, or any young person, studying for a future that they will not have due to the catastrophes of climate change. 

Her choice to protest outside the parliament hall with a humble sign reading “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”) garnered media attention fast; flash forward less than a year, and in May 2019 she covered Time magazine as a respected “next generation leader” and her protests have mobilized youth across the planet. Just this past August, Thunberg sailed emissions-free on a solar-powered sailboat to the United States from the UK to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this coming Sunday, September 23rd. 

The strike led this past Friday outside the White House was a captivating scene; climate action groups like Extinction Rebellion and the Sunrise Movement were present with advocates and representatives, and media reps stocked with cameras, microphones and notepads swarmed the crowd of young activists surrounding Greta. The demonstration, complete with a march through to the front side of the White House, was led by activists beyond just Greta herself; she fell back into the crowd with demonstrators like myself for most of the march, showing solidarity rather than superiority. 

In her brief speech to the crowd, she said that she was beyond proud of the movement, overwhelmed by the support she has received and optimistic about the mission moving forward, specifically the Global Strike this Friday. 

Hearing from her and the other activists present at this demonstration was invigorating and inspiring. 

I hope to carry Greta’s message of passionate action and conviction to fight climate change as I prepare to join other students in solidarity with the Global Youth Climate Strike this Friday, September 20th from 12 to 12:30 pm on the Great Lawn. 

Please consider joining me and many others as we wear green and demonstrate our desire for climate action and leadership in the Christopher Newport community. 

Any questions regarding this demonstration can be directed to

~James Duffy, Staff Writer~

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