Passers-by beeped their horns as more than two dozen St. Paul's School students and several faculty members made the two-mile march down Pleasant and Warren Streets to the New Hampshire State House on Friday, September 20. With cardboard signs in hand, the teens gathered on the State House steps to read aloud their letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, outlining the need for action on climate change.
This gathering in downtown Concord was part of the Global Youth Climate Strike. The students’ journey was one of many coordinated walkouts by students across New Hampshire and the world to rally for action on environmental and sustainable issues. Henniker resident Mike French ’74 also joined students in the march.
“Democratic or conservative, privileged or not, climate change has no specific target. It is and will continue to affect everyone and everything,” read Fifth Former Anna Smith-Moser, a member of the School’s environmental club, Eco-Action. “It is a threat that imposes on all of humankind and will continue to deteriorate the quality of life around the entirety of the planet for generations to come. Our lives will be altered indefinitely. That is, unless we act now.”
She continued, “Globally, political figures are already responding to this emergency, and in just three days time, some of the most influential people in the world will meet for the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit to discuss what can be done around the world. The thing is, nothing will change unless every single country, every single state, and every single person plays their own part in making a difference. Even our little state, with a population of just over 1 million, must contribute, and do everything in our power to stop the inevitable causes that will go hand and hand with climate change.”
In recent months, Sununu has vetoed house and senate bills that would implement an increase in green energy use. The students' efforts are part of a national campaign for a Green New Deal that would have local, state, and national communities using 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Last summer, Concord's City Council pledged to a 100 percent renewable energy goal by the year 2050.
Taking part in the march caused students to miss three class blocks. As a lesson in commitment, the students were marked with an unexcused absence and received an early check-in. "School is important, but our planet is the future," remarked Sixth Former Charlotte Scully of the consequences.