Students will demand UF administration and Gainesville City Hall to change their climate policies Friday.
Climate Action Gator is hosting a Youth Climate Strike, which will begin at noon at Tigert Hall on Southwest 13th Street. The protesters will march to City Hall where a rally will take place. The protest is estimated to end around 3 p.m, said Anton Kernohan, the vice president of Climate Action Gator and a 20-year-old UF political science sophomore.
This march will be the third climate strike to be held at City Hall, but this is the first time protests will start at Tigert Hall and direct demands toward UF administration, Kernohan said.
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, sparked the global climate movement after she protested in front of Sweden’s parliament a year and a half ago, according to the Associated Press.
Climate Action Gator participated in Sept. 20’s Global Youth Climate Strike, which urged UF, Gainesville and federal leaders to institute more sustainable energy practices.
“We feel that now, we have grown a base of youth supporters and there are so many young people who are educated on the issue that we are going to keep it all youth speakers for this one,” Kernohan said.
Once the march arrives at City Hall, protesters will hold a subsequent rally with speakers, chants and performances. Kernohan said he’s impressed with young people’s education on the climate crisis.
He said he helped organize the second strike with the help of Climate Action Gator where the attendance rose to 300 people. Kernohan said they expect 750 participants on Friday, based on the number of people who interacted with the protest’s Facebook event page.
The organizers created demands and a resolution for UF which will be announced at the strike, he said. They also want to show UF’s connection to Gainesville and the university’s responsibility in helping the city pursue action to address climate change.
“At the time, I had no knowledge about climate. It wasn’t a concern for me. After speaking at that event, I began doing more research and looking more into it and genuinely fell in love with the movement and also realized how impending this crisis was.”
Hannah Hopper, a 20-year-old UF sustainability studies sophomore, said she plans to go to the event because she believes in environmental activism and wants to pursue environmental law.
“It’s already happening with the floods there [in Coconut Creek, Florida],” Hopper said. “The roads started to flood from the beach and stuff, so it’s already happening and just thinking about that getting worse and seeing it firsthand.”
She said climate change is the biggest problem in the world. Hopper added she thinks the way the world lives is not sustainable and people need to be prepared for it.
“I want to take the next step and actually participate in something,” Hopper said.