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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

UC Davis Students and community members strike for climate action

Members of the UC Davis Environmental Club joined other community organizations in downtown Davis to promote climate action


By RIVERS STOUT — campus@theaggie.org 


On Jan. 26, a group of activists met on the intersection of 5th and B Street in Davis to raise attention toward climate action. The group included members of the UC Davis Environmental Club, representatives from the local Fridays for a Future and the Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, as well as other community members. 

“We’re trying to gather as much attention as possible,” Rae Bear, a third-year environmental policy major and president of Environmental Club, said. “That way [people] know we’re here, we do care [and] we’re trying to help.”

Fridays for a Future is a local club run by students of the Davis Senior High School, formed following Greta Thunberg’s 2018 protest of the Swedish parliament. 

“I’m here every Friday because it makes me feel as though I can make a difference in my community,” Kai Leonard, a member of Fridays for a Future, said. “Every time I show up, I see a group of like-minded individuals, and I can protest with them on the corner every week, and it feels like I can make a difference.”

Other than club members, many older community members came in support of the youth-led strike.

“We’re not suggesting how they set their agenda, we’re here to support the agenda they set,” Scott Steward, a member of the Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, said. 

The agenda is to focus the community’s attention on climate action, in hopes of encouraging a desire to take action. 

“I’m hoping for [people] to reflect; when cars pass by us, I hope they see the posters and change small things in their lives,” Leonard said.  

Students at the protest expressed their thoughts on student activism, strongly supporting the work that needs to be done for climate action. 

“I think [student activism] is very important,” Bear said. “As students, we have responsibilities. We’re at that age where we’re getting a lot of knowledge and information and we have energy to really do something and get involved. It’s really important that everyone steps up and does what needs to be done.”

The gathering of people held signs on the road, sometimes receiving acknowledgment via an occasional honk from drivers passing by.

“I’m here because we’re holding space and creating an opportunity to remind people that we’re in a climate crisis, while we try to rationalize continuing with the way we use our resources,” Steward said. “This is a community action that symbolizes and creates the narrative around Davis as being a place where climate action is a high priority, and more of our Davis fellows need to be a part of in a more effective and constructive way.”

The older community members continued to emphasize that they were not the focus, and instead that the students were, throughout the event.

“The youth are the next generation taking power in this world,” Leonard said. “We need people that understand the situation we’re in. I think the youth is a great way to start that.”

Stewart shared his closing thoughts on what the community of Davis must do to move forward and effectively aid in helping against the climate crisis. 

 “I think Davis stopped being as forward-thinking as it needs to be,” Steward said. “The [types] of building projects that they’re planning, the [types] of transportation preferences that they are incenting, the types of engagement with the school system in terms of environmental and social justice thinking needs to be elevated more.”


Written by: Rivers Stout — campus@theaggie.org


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