Professor Anita Forrester and students from the NCC Climate Action Network (CAN) organized the Bethlehem site of the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20.
The strike began on NCC’s main campus in the Quad where students peacefully gathered, sitting in a circle. They marched up to Laub Lounge and through the cafeteria and the Student Life Zone carrying signs emblazoned with messages such as “Policy Change Not Climate Change” and “There is no planet B.”
The protest moved to Paylow Plaza in Bethlehem at 2 p.m., where the group met with students from Lehigh and Moravian Universities and resident activists who also joined.
NCC CAN President and Biological Science major, Ashley Barrasso addressed the crowd with a speech she wrote for the event.
“At this very moment, we are only a fraction of the millions of individuals across the globe, striking under one unified purpose,” she began.
BBC News reported that an estimated 4 million people worldwide participated in the event.
“This is the first time a global strike will be taking place by growing and unifying a multigenerational climate movement. This strike will be the launch of a new era of just and equitable climate action,” Barrasso continued.
The Global Climate Strike was born out of a movement started by a 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg. On August 20, 2018, she painted “School Strike for Climate” on a piece of poster board and sat alone outside of the Swedish Parliament from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. This small act grew into a movement involving over 170 countries worldwide.
Just over one year later, people from all around the world walked out of their classrooms and workplaces and took to the street to demonstrate, joining her effort to make the science heard.
Barrasso urged the crowd, “As residents of Pennsylvania, it’s our moral obligation to demand the use of clean, sustainable energy practices and to elect the delegates that represent the well-being of not only those of us here today, but also individuals whose voices cannot and will not be heard. Our commonwealth is one of only two states in the country who hold a Green Amendment in its Constitution that calls for the protection of the natural environment.”
One of the primary demands of the strikers is for, “switching the Lehigh Valley to 100 percent renewable energy, stopping the extraction of fossil fuel, and ending hydraulic fracturing throughout PA,” Barrasso said.
Northampton Community College is the largest community college in the country to run on 100 percent renewable energy with the use of wind, solar, and geothermal resources.
Her speech concluded with a message of hope stating, “Together we have the power to make a positive change.”