Thousands of people marched in Washington on Sept. 20 for the beginning of a week-long series of events demanding that political leaders begin halting climate change. Students around the world walked out of their classrooms in a strike meant to draw attention to the fact that their generation will be the chief victims of a warming world.
On the 1 ½ mile march route to the Capitol, a group of seventh graders from Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital held signs reading, “Stop Climate Change,” “We Only Have One Home” and “Our Home is On Fire.”
“I needed to do something about this,” said Milton student Shalvah Lazarus. “This problem affects me as much as it has affected the world and I need something better to do than sit on my bed and cry. I want to have a future. I want to grow up.”
The students led a contingent of adults from Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda. They included the synagogue’s klezmer band, who played as other marchers danced.
Robert Broadway was one of the adult marchers who came to support the student strikers.
“Today is about supporting the youth. It’s inspiring how people from high school and college students have stepped up,” he said.
Mirele Goldsmith, an environmentalist and a member of Adat Shalom, said everyone needs to protect the environment. “We have to find solutions,” she said.
The Milton students were not technically on strike. They marched with permission of the school and with adult escorts.
Aliza Lesser said that while she was happy that the school let her be there, she wanted to do more than raise awareness.
“Saving the planet, hoping to reduce our carbon footprint is really important
to me. Animals are dying and it’s really important that we change this. We are the next generation and we need to do something.”
“We don’t get a Planet B,” added Hannah Jaffe. “This is our only chance for us and future generations after us. We have to be concerned.”
Added Joseph Silverberg, “I would feel guilty if I was doing nothing.”