Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
“Kids these days … are fighting for a better planet and a brighter future,” actor Mark Ruffalo captioned a video of the March 15 Global Climate Strike on Twitter, garnering over 20,000 retweets and 100,000 likes.
So, maybe they spend “too much time” on their phones, but what they’re looking at on their devices is news of the increasing endangerment of the planet. As the effects of climate change worsen, kids and teens are stepping up to call on decision makers to protect their futures. The first big step: filing a lawsuit against the federal government in 2015 for knowingly allowing carbon pollution’s poisoning of the environment, which was given permission to proceed just this past October.
The strike is the latest development in a movement that’s still getting off the ground. Led by Swedish teen and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, an estimated 1.6 million students protested in over 100 countries around the world to bring attention to the declining state of the Earth. Certain San Diego schools like Hilltop High School and High Tech High School held demonstrations outside of their schools and then marched to Chula Vista and San Diego City Halls.
But in Carmel Valley, students presented little knowledge of the fact that the strike was occurring, let alone attended it.
Maya Satchell, who transfered to Torrey Pines High School this year from Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, said that the student body seemed more apathetic to climate change than she expected.
“I am so ashamed and extremely saddened by the lack of awareness and support for such an important cause at our school,” Satchell said. “Being a new student, I felt like I had little power to start anything, and I did not have the platform to spread the word. There are people at this school that have that power and can raise awareness, but they didn’t use their power responsibly.”
According to students, it does not appear as though Canyon Crest Academy or San Dieguito Academy High School organized demonstrations either, and they said that if anything did occur, it wasn’t publicized.
Satchell said that while she is confident that students around Carmel Valley are aware of the planet’s concerning state, they are not necessarily eager to dedicate time to advocating for action to be taken, whether because they already have too much on their plate, or because they’re apprehensive about pushback.
“It’s great that we live in an area that puts so much emphasis on academic achievement, academics are important, but right now we also need to remember that there are real changes that need to be made in the world that require our help,” Satchell said.