On Friday, Sept. 20, the largest climate demonstration ever conducted by students in San Diego occurred when more than 20 area high schools and colleges joined the Global Climate Strike. Locally, students and teachers from Mission Bay High and San Diego City College joined ReWild Mission Bay coalition, neighbors, and San Diego 350 climate activists at the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve at 1 p.m. to demand actionable climate policy and an end to fossil fuel use. The walkout had the support of the San Diego Unified School District Board.
The protesters carried bullhorns, signs and drums and chanted climate-care slogans. Speeches — met with thunderous applause and cheers — were given by Andrew Meyer, conservation director at San Diego Audubon; Vanessa Cascante, president of Mission Bay High School Eco Club; Yasmeen Obeid, rep from The American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931; Isabelle Kay, UC San Diego Natural Reserve System preserve steward; District 4 County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and others.
“It is no longer a matter of debating whether or not climate change is real,” said Cascante in her speech, “but a matter of what action we will take next. Over 97 percent of climate scientists agree we have 11-12 years before our destruction to the environment is irreversible. The early consequences are already here … The science of climate change has been known for 30 years. Time has already run out.”
Obeid added: “We’re here to say that it’s enough, we’re here to take action today, together, collectively. Moving forward needs to start now. Climate change effects every single one of us. However, it effects low-income communities of color on a much larger basis and impacts them the most; we need to acknowledge that.”
Fletcher told those gathered: “As an elected official, I hear you. I want you to know that today, the entire world, they hear you … We know future generations have been failed by those who came before you, and now it’s on you to use your voices and your votes. We need you to take this spirit you have today in speaking out and engage and mobilize it to elect people who will change the policies.”
Reps from District 2 City Council member Jennifer Campbell’s office, Jordan Beane and Monica Eslamian, were present to offer Campbell’s message: “Studies show that the best way to move somebody on climate change is to have a personal conversation with them. So if you have a grandfather, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, who doesn’t know what’s going on, go talk to them! Go change their mind because that’s how change will happen.”
Students were released from the walkout in time to return to class by 2 p.m.