Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Three days before the United Nations convenes an emergency summit on climate change, young people around the world, including in Las Vegas, will lead an effort to prioritize action on the crisis.
Students around the valley will stage walkouts on their campuses today to protest inaction on climate change, followed by a rally in front of the Venetian at 6 p.m.
Students at seven schools in the Las Vegas area will take part earlier in the day, organizers said. Their intention is simple: to draw attention to the ongoing crisis.
“We encourage students to have conversations about issues significant to them in the appropriate educational settings,” the Clark County School District said in a statement. “If students approach school administrators about organizing events, principals will assess the impact to their particular schools and take necessary steps to support students as deemed appropriate, while ensuring the safety and well-being of students.”
John Anzalone, the principal of Sierra Vista High, said his administration would support students if they decided to participate (there are no such plans) in the walkout and make it a “learning experience.” Other principals will employ a similar strategy.
Ariana Boorboor, a senior at Advanced Technologies Academy, said that students will participate in the strike around 1:40 p.m. during the final school period.
“I believe that there will be a lot of students (participating), not just from A-Tech but from the whole valley,” she said.
Boorboor took point on the walkouts at her school. She hopes elected officials noticed the young people's actions.
“The youth are powerful,” she said. “We have a message to say.”
Dexter Lim, a senior, is spearheading organizing at Palo Verde High. Participating students will leave school at 10 a.m. and return an hour later. Returning to school at 11 is not an accident, Lim said, citing a warning from U.N. scientists last year that the world had only 12 years to act to avert catastrophe. Now, Lim, said, there are only 11 years left.
“It is the 11th hour for us to take action on climate change,” he said.
Samia Hufane, a senior at Valley High, called climate change an existential threat to the younger generation, saying that it would impede young people’s ability to grow and live.
“We go to school to make sure that we have a future,” she said. “What’s the point if we don’t have a future at all?”
She said that constant inaction on the issue, and the country’s backing out of the Paris Climate Accords, can’t continue. The Paris Accords are an international agreement to cut back greenhouse gasses to keep the global temperature rise at under 2 degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial levels. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement after taking office.
“One of the main reasons that it is important to me, and my generation as a whole, is we want the opportunity to grow up and live in a world that is sustainable,” she said.
Matt Piper of the Sunrise Movement Las Vegas, an activist group backing the movement, said that organizers expect a significant turnout in front of the Venetian. As word has started to spread, so has interest.
“Momentum has really picked up over the last couple of days,” he said. “We were originally anticipating a couple hundred people, but it’s starting to look like it could surpass that.”