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Ithaca Takes Part in the Global Climate Strike


Protest signs and chanting filled the Ithaca Commons on Friday, Sept. 20 as people marched onto the Bernie Milton Pavilion. The event was part of the Global Climate Strike, held in hundreds of locations around the world. Chants led by students shouting – “We want change!”, “When our planet is under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” and “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!” – echoed throughout the streets while participants made their way downtown.

The Ithaca march drew an estimated crowd of 1,200 people, which included hundreds of students from Ithaca College, Cornell University, Ithaca High School and Lehman Alternative Community School.

The march was hosted by Sunrise Movement Ithaca, a group of young people fighting to stop climate change, in order to bring awareness to the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit that was held Sept. 23.

A Local Impact

The crowd gathered in the pavilion as community members, students, alumni and professors spoke on stage about climate issues related to race, gender and socioeconomic status.

Among the speakers was Joe Soto, an Ithaca resident of Taino descent (indigenous people of the Caribbean), who opened the event by speaking on behalf of indigenous group and the issues they face with the impacts of climate change.

“There will come a day when we cannot drink the water,” Soto said. “There will be a day when we cannot eat the food… We cannot look at each other as white, black, or brown. We need to look at each other as human beings. It is going to be an uphill battle for change.”

Young people gather and chant while holding protest signs (Photo by Jordyn Congelli)

Russell Rickford, an author and associate professor at Cornell University, called for a reorganization of our society. He called for a peaceful climate movement that is “anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist.”

“We must organize around peace and humanity, instead of private property and war,” said Rickford.

Adults took time off work to protest in hopes of promoting a change for the future of their children. A woman dressed in funeral attire drew a crowd with the sign she was holding. Another group of parents carried cardboard cutouts of children on their backs, with their own childrens’ faces printed onto them.

Woman stands in silent protest while holding sign with grievances listed (Photo by Jordyn Congelli)

The Green New Deal on a Global Scale

Ithaca’s strike was among thousands of demonstrations that happened across 150 countries. The Summit met Monday in New York to address climate crisis and The Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution backed by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Senator Ed Markey. The goal of the resolution is to slow down the projected climate change that would result in irreversible damages around the world.

The Green New Deal consists of:

  • Transitioning away from burning fossil fuels and the implementation of renewable energy
  • Creation of jobs based around green energy
  • Goal of moving to 100% clean energy by 2030

Another global climate strike is planned to take place on Sept. 27 in response to the aftermath of the UN climate summit meeting.


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