“System change, not climate change!”
Over 7.6 million citizens around the world came out and marched in solidarity for the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 — this was the largest climate mobilization in history, according to the Global Climate Strike website.
Students and members of the Davis community, however, postponed their on-campus activism until the following Friday, on Sept. 27. While a climate strike was held in the city of Davis on Sept. 20, the on-campus strike was delayed as UC Davis did not officially start school until Sept. 25.
UC Davis’ Zero Waste and Sustainability club, Climate Reality Campus Corps, Climate Strike club and Young Democratic Socialists of America organized their own Global Climate Strike in the quad on Sept. 27. Students were encouraged to protest for climate justice and bring their own sustainable posters.
“We would have done it last week had school been in session,” said Megan Phelps, chair of the Climate Reality Campus Corps, in an interview with UC Davis Strategic Communications.
Fifteen minutes before the event, the quad was still considerably empty. There were a few dispersed students sitting under the shade, eating lunch and finishing homework.
Five minutes before the rally, a woman and child showed up with posters. Another student also walked into the quad, poster in hand. The turnout looked empty. Then, three minutes before the start of the rally, a large crowd of about 75 people, including UC Davis students and community members, formed on the east quad. Multiple photographers were also present to capture the event.
Rachel Lucine, a first-year environmental science and management major, explained the student body’s motivation for activating.
“We came out here today to show our support for the climate strike and to show our support for planet Earth and prove that standing up and going to these rallies and showing our support does make a difference,” Lucine said.
Like other activists, Lucine was holding a sunflower. A fellow rallier was passing them out to the crowd.
“I think [the sunflower] means that this beauty was produced by our planet, and if we don’t protect it, it’s not going to last,” Lucine said.
Ralliers held up posters with messages reading, ‘Remember paradise!,’ ‘History has its eyes on us’ and ‘Solidarity with the bananas.’
“My poster says ‘VOTE’,” said Steve Nyholm, a member of the Davis community. “I think it’s the most important climate change action that we can do. We can vote for elected officials who put legislation in place to help our whole society address climate change.”
Five minutes in, the crowd began chanting mantras such as “Action! Action! Action now!” “There’s no planet B!” and “Stop burning our future!” More students became aware of the event on the quad and joined in.
The strike continued in the quad until noon. Protesters then began marching downtown, toward Central Park. The procession stretched from the edge of campus at the Social Sciences Building to the Memorial Union. The four people leading the walk held a banner that read “Climate Strike.”
As the protesters regrouped in Central Park, they were joined by other community members already in the park. A semi truck driving by honked at the crowd in a show of support. The strike continued on in this new location — motivational speeches were given by passionate individuals. A few people in the crowd yelled expletives about the current president, which were quickly dismissed by the organizers. Within the crowd, talk about whether or not protesters were registered to vote was audible.
Nearing the end of the event at 12:30 p.m., there was one last speech. The speakers urged global citizens and Davis community members alike to stand in solidarity and take action to reduce the effects of climate change and preserve the earth for future generations.
Written by: Linh Nguyen — firstname.lastname@example.org