Meet the Southwest students striking for climate action

Dozens of students from multiple Southwest Minneapolis schools participated in Friday's Global Climate Strike

A group of Washburn High School students gathered outside of the school for a photo before heading to the Global Climate Strike event held Sept. 20 at the state Capitol. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Thousands of students — including dozens from Southwest Minneapolis — marched to the state Capitol on Friday as part of the Global Climate Strike.

Students demanded action to alleviate global warming and advocated for policies to transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy. The rally was one of about a dozen planned in Minnesota and one of hundreds worldwide.

Hundreds of thousands of students across the globe participated in the strikes, led by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg.

The Southwest Journal spoke with several Southwest Minneapolis students in attendance at the St. Paul strike.

Rory Kliewer

Senior, Washburn High School
“This is our future.”

Why did you decide to attend the march?

This is our future. That’s the biggest thing.

I’ve had people tell me that this action isn’t going to matter because we’re just kids or [that] people aren’t going to pay attention to the strike [and] they’re just going to pay attention to us missing school. I don’t think that’s true. The feedback that I’ve gotten from adults in my life and even people that have walked by today has been really positive. People are paying attention for sure.

What changes would you like to see in terms of policy?

Something I’d like to see is the Just Transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in the workforce. I know that’s one of our demands today.

It’s very hard to teach people how to do a new job or to make them open minded to that, and I want to make sure that those people can make that transition and not worry about how that’s going to affect their family, their health care or any of that.

I think just general awareness is [also] what I want to see. That adults are realizing that this is not just their future — that this is [also] our future. We might not be able to vote yet, but that does not mean we don’t deserve to be heard.


Peregrine Todd

Sophomore, Southwest High School
“We just want some sort of policy that can help save the world.”

Why did you decide to attend the march?

A lot of people at school and a lot of people that I know really feel that climate change is basically the biggest problem in our world right now. But leaders are doing little to nothing to recognize it. We just want some sort of policy that can help save the world.

What changes would you like to see in terms of policy?

We want a lot of change in the U.S. to more sustainable sources of energy. In Minnesota, we have a good percentage of sustainable energy, but we could get a lot more.


Finn Waterman

Sophomore, Southwest High School
“There’s a huge problem going on.”

Why did you decide to attend the march?

I just have a passion for saving the planet and decided to come out here.

I’m not in the [Southwest] Green Team, but I’ve been in green teams previous to this year. I know there’s a huge problem going on, so when I heard about this … I decided that it would be a good time to go.

What effect do you think these type of actions will have?

People are going to see the high amount of people leaving schools in order to attend these events. I think the government will be aware … that this is a problem that people actually care about.