Milton Academy Youth Climate March
By GEORGE ROSE ‘21
On Friday, April 19th, approximately 80 students – some from Milton and others not – gathered around the State House on Boston Common to protest the lack of local action to combat climate change.
In 2019, climate change is not only an existential issue but also an imminent one. On March 15th, students in 112 countries, led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, held protests against governments’ inaction in addressing the perils of climate change. These students told the world that they will have to deal with the consequences of adults’ inaction and that they will have to suffer the consequences of a generation of unaccountability. Led by Thunberg and her famous line, “I want you to panic….and act as if the house was on fire,” these students garnered much international media attention.
However, since some private schools in the Boston area were on spring break at the time, Milton students Ariane DesRosiers ‘19 and Rory Hallowell ‘20 planned and executed a Milton strike in April. Milton students gathered to join the international movement in this event, the first of its kind organized by Milton students, who numbered about 55 at the strike. The event started at 11:00 AM and ran until 2:00 PM. For the first portion of the strike, students marched from the Common toward the golden dome of the State House, chanting slogans such as the call and response, “What do we want?” “Climate action” “When do we want it?” “Now!” A snack break and smaller discussion groups to talk about individual issues followed the marching portion of the strike.
According to Hallowell, he and DesRosiers commenced work on the strike in December after DesRosiers originally had the idea. They applied for a permit to strike and mobilized students from the Independent School Sustainability Coalition, a network of more than twenty-five high schools in the New England, along with students from other Massachusetts high schools. Hallowell also remarked that “other groups involved and attending were members from FRRACS, Mothers Out Front, Extinction Rebellion, Sierra Club, Sunrise and the Better Future Project / Boston Student Advisory Council. Milton students have a at least three groups bringing attention to issues, and other schools are doing the same.”
One highlight of the march was a visit from one of the Massachusetts State Representatives, Tommy Vitolo, who offered words of encouragement to these young protesters. The central goal of this smaller march was to stop the Weymouth Compressor Station, a natural gas compressor station that poses a number of threats to the health of both the surrounding ecosystem and surrounding human population. In addition, the march also aimed to push for the passing of a number of smaller scale environmental bills in Boston and the Massachusetts area. Lastly, the strike demanded the resignation of EPA director Andrew Wheeler and a revote on the Green New Deal.
Even with warnings of the dire future that will result from inaction, politicians refuse to see climate change as a moral and non-partisan issue. These global climate strikes, such as this one orchestrated by Milton students, demonstrate that if adults aren’t ready to handle decision making power, the youth might just have to take control.