Sept. 20, 2019—NMH students walked out of classes on Sept. 20 in solidarity with young people around the world to demand action by world leaders on climate change.
Students left their morning classes as part of the youth-led global climate strike happening in cities and towns and on campuses around the world. The week-long action is led by Swedish activist GretaThunberg, 16, who is credited with raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change, and with calling out political leaders for their lack of action on the climate crisis. More than 4,600 strikes took place in 139 countries.
Close to 250 NMH students, faculty, and staff gathered in front of Beveridge Hall, where student environmental leaders Madeleine Yang ’21 and Ivan Solzhenitsyn ’21 spoke to the crowd.
“Together, we demand an end to the age of fossil fuels, and climate justice for everyone,” Yang said.
Solzhenitsyn continued, “We will walk with conviction, knowing that we can make a difference.”
The 20-minute walkout was organized by NMH’s Ecoleaders, students charged with educating the community about environmental issues, and the Interfaith Council, a group of students representing the various religious and spiritual traditions at NMH. The event ended with remarks by Head of School Brian Hargrove in support of the students’ efforts.
“I want you to be able to give your children a cleaner earth than you inherited,” Hargrove said.
After the march, Yang said she was pleased that Hargrove accepted the invitation to speak at the event.
“It’s important for us as students to have a voice, but it’s also important for us to see our teachers and other adults showing leadership on climate change,” she said.
In addition to the walkout, the Ecoleaders are planning activities to enable students to voice their opinions about climate change and the need for action, including a student-organized letter-writing campaign to U.S. policymakers and other leaders who are in a position to affect change. Students have also asked their teachers to spend class time this week on climate-related topics.
After the march, Becca Malloy, director of sustainability at NMH, said, “The passion of our students is unmatched, and the partnership between adults and students here is a very special part of our school culture. At NMH, there’s a mutual respect and teamwork, and I think you were seeing that today.”