Students Attend Climate Strike

Sara Rhomberg

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Mount Vernon students hold up their posters in Iowa City at a climate strike on Oct. 4.

Thousands of people filled the streets of Iowa City on Oct. 4 to advocate for climate change, and among these were six students from Mount Vernon High School. The appearance of teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg sparked interest in students and the public, and over 3000 attended the strike. Speakers at the strike included the mayor of Iowa City, Thunberg, and students from Iowa City West and City High. Mount Vernon students Dallas Olberding, Remy Merrill, Abbie Morf, Nellie Morf, Parker Whitham, and Hedy Zmolek participated in the student-led strike and even made posters to hold up. 

The climate strike was organized by students from City High and Iowa City West High School as a part of a program they participate in called “Fridays for Future”, which is a program that was started by teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Fridays for Future is a school strike for climate change, where students organize a strike in their town that is open to the public. 

Whitham, a freshman, said she learned a lot about climate change last year in her science class, and it interested her “I’ve always wanted to go to a strike or protest, but there has never been one close enough for me to go to” Whitham said. The climate strike in Iowa City was the perfect opportunity for Whitham to attend a strike, and it was for an issue which she was interested in. 

“The point of having the strike in Iowa City was to have the university administrators recognize that the university needed to be coal free” said Zmolek, a freshman. With the high attendance numbers at the strike and the powerful speeches given, the University of Iowa has now pledged to be coal-free by the year 2025. 

The strike was a very powerful experience for Mount Vernon High School students. “It helped me realize how much change is possible because there were so many people there that all wanted change” Zmolek said. During the strike, students participated in the 11 minutes of silence. Zmolek said that this time of silence represented the 11 years we have before climate change becomes irreversible.

“The experience of being together with a bunch of other people who agree with what I believe in was really empowering” Whitham said. “It was a great learning experience.”