Fort Lewis College and high school students joined the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, at Durango City Hall.
Indivisible Durango’s climate and environmental committee asked FLC student JoJo Johnstone to host and promote the event.
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden brought on FridaysForFuture, a campaign that asks students and community members to participate in a strike outside of their local city hall every Friday, Johnstone said.
Originally, the FridaysforFuture campaign was national in Sweden, but staring on Sept. 20 and continuing on Sept. 27, the campaign was made global, she said.
Johnstone said that because Durango is the largest city in the Four Corners area, it was important for the city to contribute to the student strike for climate.
Participants strike for different reasons, but the ultimate goal of the campaign is to compel Colorado representatives to address climate change, she said.
First-year-students and Alaska Natives Ashley Willi and Verla Weter said they attended the climate strike because they have experienced climate change first-hand.
Willi said that subsistence, or living at a minimal level, is important in her community, and that the salmon are dying because the water is warming. She also said that the berries are drying, and a drying climate heightens fire danger.
“A lot of Alaska burned, which is definitely going to affect the migration of deer—all of the subsistence stuff we need to keep our traditions alive,” she said.
People of all ages gathered at Durango City Hall, wielding signs and chanting phrases such as “A Green New Deal is what we need. No more oil, gas or greed.”
Those driving by honked and held out their thumbs in support of the climate strike, but not all community members agreed with the message.
One middle-aged woman approached a group of high schoolers and voiced her support of oil and gas drilling. The high schoolers argued with her briefly and said that she would die of old age, but that they would die of climate change.
Police monitored the event, asking participants to remain on the sidewalks.