Central Valley Youth Join Global Climate Strike

Photo by Alexis Zuniga

On March 3, Fridays For Future Fresno, along with multiple climate justice groups across the Central Valley, marched in downtown Fresno, making stops at City Hall and the Superior Courthouse, as they joined the Global Climate Strike.

Joining the worldwide strike, a group of high school students marched to advocate for climate change injustices and to apply pressure on political figures, particularly towards President Joe Biden’s consideration for the Willow Project, a massive and decades-long oil drilling venture on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve.

This oil drilling project would ruin entire ecosystems and release nearly 9.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with the amount of oil it will produce,” said 17-year-old Shanelle Relucio. 

Stopping in front of City Hall, they held speeches and demonstrated a die-in, where they laid in silence on the grass for 1.5 minutes to demonstrate the extinction of species from not keeping global temperature rise under 1.5 ℃.

Continuing their march, they ended their day at the Superior Courthouse to vocalize the need for change. 

As climate change is a global issue, organization leader Sophie Abrea said her goal for the strike was to show that Fresno can be a part of this global movement; that the Central Valley has been victim to extreme heat waves and air pollution due to forest fires, and she desires a better future for the planet she loves and for future generations. 

Abrea felt that as a community, it is important for those from all backgrounds to join together in attempts to better our futures. She believes that in order to change climate issues that affect future generations, the community needs to first realize these extreme effects.

“In order to move forward, we must move as one, united together,” Abrea said. 

Relucio strongly feels that adults should take more action in climate change. She hopes that adults seeing children fighting publicly for this change will empower others to join, specifically politicians.

Individuals with power can create legislation that helps with conservation but they do nothing while youth within the community are trying to spread awareness, Relucio continued.

“We are out of time; the time to act is now,” said Relucio. “We can’t wait until we realize that the effects of climate change are happening because by then it will be too late.”

“Your voice matters,” echoed Abrea. “No matter how insignificant it may seem in the moment, there is no whole without the parts. Together we are strong!”

If you are interested in learning more about Fridays For Future Fresno, follow them on Instagram at @fridaysforfuture.fresno

Alexis Zuniga (she/her/hers)

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