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Seventeen students from Las Cruces Academy, a private school in Mesilla, participated in the global climate strike, along with millions of people around the world, on Friday, Sept. 20.
Following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist leading the global movement, the students stood outside of Mesilla Town Hall, waving signs encouraging community members to take climate change seriously.
The marches around the world, estimated to be the largest climate protest in history, took place ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit Sept. 21-23.
Erika Camunez, a 7th grader at Las Cruces Academy who participated in the protest, said it’s important for youth to make a statement about climate change because it will affect their future.
“It’s our future and what’s going to happen is going to affect us,” Camunez said on Friday. “[Climate change has] been happening for a while, but right now, it’s like really big, and we need to act right now because we can’t act later.”
During the protest, many passersby honked their horns in support of Las Cruces Academy’s efforts.
Mohammed Geli, a 6th grader, said he was pleased with the reaction from the community.
“I think we need people to get more awareness from the protest today and other protests so they can do something,” Geli said.
Geli said some of the changes he hopes to see in the future include lower emission levels and action from the government.
“It’s our future and if we don’t do something right now, we’re gone,” he said.
Lou Ellen Kay, founder and head of Las Cruces Academy, said the school staff was pleased to support the children’s drive to participate in the protest.
“If you produce bright, well educated people, and expose them to the facts, like Greta was, maybe they will help solve some of these problems,” Kay said.
Alexia Severson may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org