(From left to right) Julia Stoll, sophomore, Liz Barnett, sophomore, Gabby Brecht, sophomore, Amy Hernandez, 8th grade, and Alexandra Hernandez, sophomore. (Gabby Brecht)
(From left to right) Julia Stoll, sophomore, Liz Barnett, sophomore, Gabby Brecht, sophomore, Amy Hernandez, 8th grade, and Alexandra Hernandez, sophomore.

Gabby Brecht

Greta Thunberg In Iowa City

On Friday, October 4th, students gathered in Iowa City to fight against Climate Change. Liberty students in attendance share what they saw and what they heard.

October 14, 2019

On October 4th, students from the Iowa City Community School District flooded the streets of Iowa City to hear a speech given by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish girl on a mission to reverse climate change. This event, announced 2 days beforehand on Thunberg’s Twitter, was attended by over 3,000 people. 

The threat of climate change has become especially pressing in recent years, and many people on social media have taken steps to reduce their environmental footprint, but many feel that this isn’t enough. Thunberg’s stance against powerful world leaders sets a new standard. She claims that if those with the funds to do something refuse to do so, it’s up to the youth. With the help of social media, her protests have gained traction and fueled the fire in many students at Liberty. 

“Hearing Greta speak in person was inspirational and eye-opening, I’ve always thought climate change was a big issue and hearing everyone’s ideas about it made me want to help the cause even more,” said Julia Stoll, sophomore.

The crowd in attendance was much bigger than anyone expected for a Friday afternoon, which shows just how passionate ICCSD students are about reversing the actions of the previous generations.

Abby Fowler, senior, holds up her cardboard sign for the camera in downtown Iowa City.

“It’s an issue I hold [dear] to my heart. My mom and I have made many changes in our personal lives to try and contribute in our own ways, but change needs to happen on a bigger scale, and it was awesome advocating for it,” said Jamie Brooks, senior. 

Thunberg’s strike included a segment where the crowd sat down in silence and spent 11 minutes reflecting on the causes of climate change and how little time there is left to fix it. According to Thunberg, we have 11 years, but conflicting opinions say that the next year will be critical in deciding the future of the planet, so it’s important to act now. 

“During the 11 minutes of silence, I thought about how much we’ve really done to the environment. The fact that it will take 11 years to [make] Earth healthy again makes me think deeper about climate change and its impacts,” said Stoll.

One of the main reasons the strike was held in downtown Iowa City was to protest against the University of Iowa’s coal and natural gas usage. Speakers other than Thunberg, with roots closer to home, spoke out to the university to get involved. According to The Gazette,  while the university’s spokeswoman declined to answer questions, she did send out a response that stated simply, “The University of Iowa has pledged to be coal-free by 2025”. 

“We have reached a tipping point where enough people have had enough and together we are unstoppable. We will not beg world leaders to care and act. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We will instead tell them that if they won’t do it, then we will.” said Thunberg.

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