Vermonters show up! Global Climate Strikes and Week of Action

Inspired by youth activists including Greta Thunberg, Isra Hirsi, Alexandria Villaseñor, and many others, millions of people of all ages in over 150 countries around the world flocked to the streets to demand climate justice in conjunction with the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20, and the week of action that followed. The worldwide level of enthusiasm was matched here in our state, with several thousand Vermonters showing up for the climate strikes together. Scroll through some photos below from the historic day and week for some hope and inspiration! Let’s keep the momentum of the week going throughout our state!

In this post, we’ve included links to just a few of the many news articles about Climate Strikes in Vermont. We’ve shared many others here. The photos in this blog post were all sent to us or shared with us, and whenever we knew who the photographer was, they are credited. Thanks to those who sent action summaries too. If you’d like to share other photos to include here, information about your action, or news pieces–especially if we missed your event!–please e-mail them to us. Thank you!

SEPT. 20 STRIKE EVENTS

Barre

Bennington

 
Photos by Naomi Miller

Brattleboro

In Brattleboro, large crowds joined together in Pliny Park and marched together to Brattleboro Common, where there were youth speakers, poets, music, and art! 


Photo: Karen Saunders


Photo: Sonia Silbert

Photos by David Shaw

Burlington

In Burlington on September 20, three marches converged to form a mass gathering of over 2,500 people in front of City Hall on Church Street. A group of over 1,000 students led by street band Brass Balagan marching from the University of Vermont and Champlain College even stopped Main Street traffic on their way down! At the rally, attendees were treated to live music, eloquent speakers, poetry, and art. The action concluded with the creation of a collective public art display on the chain-link fence around City Hall Park and free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s!


Photo: Kristian Brevik


Photos by Arthur Hynes

Photo by Greg Dennis

Photos by Jim Mendell

Cabot

Youth in Cabot walked out of their classes on September 20th to host the Cabot Climate Strike, an event filled with music, art, student-made baked goods, and even a symbolic papier-mache globe burning all on the Cabot town Common. Thanks to Susie Socks for the info.


Photo by Christina Sacalis

Photo by Michael Socks


Photo by Christina Sacalis

Castleton

We focused on solutions. There was place to make a personal climate pledge that we then hung up on a clothes line, we had a table where you could calculate your carbon footprint and then trace your foot and what your CF was, we had representation from 350Rutland, and Kinder Way Coffee shop which has switched from plastic cups to mason jars, and we had an electric bike. The visuals were all the pledges plus some solutions hung up on the clothes line like t-shirts, also some infographics with more educational information about the solutions. We also did this again on Friday Sept 27th on a smaller scale. We engaged over 200 people. The entire CU choir sang, as well as some other musicians! Thanks to Mary Droege for the info!


Photos: Mary Droege

Chester

Photos courtesy of the Vermont Journal

Craftsbury


Photos by Elisa Clancy

Duxbury

In Duxbury, around 150 students from Crossett Brook Middle School walked out of class to hold a climate rally and march down Route 100. Check out this Stowe Today article for some photos!

Hardwick

The Youth Climate Strike in Hardwick brought together Hazen Union High School students, Lakeview Elementary school students, and homeschoolers to march into Hardwick Village. They were met there by community members and parents to march to Atkins Field for a rally. Around 500 people participated. Thanks to Caitlin Strong for the info! 

Photos by Caitlin Strong

Hartland

We’d still love to receive photos–please let us know if you have any to share!

Hyde Park

Hundreds of students walked out from school in Hyde Park!

Jericho

Check out Bernie Paquette’s blog post!

Johnson

Students and families marched from Johnson Elementary School to the Village Green.

Manchester


Photo by Carl Bucholt

Lyndonville


Photos by Jason Shafer

Middlebury


Photos by Greg Dennis

Montpelier

Hundreds of people gathered in Montpelier for a march and die-in.

Among them were students from Thetford Academy. The Thetford community gathered on the green on Thetford Hill with banners and signs to send off a caravan including 31 Thetford Academy students headed for the action in Montpelier. They were among the many hundreds of teenagers who occupied an entire block of Main Street for two hours. Thanks to Stuart Blood for the info.


Photos from the Thetford Climate Alliance

Morrisville

At least 100 students walked out of Peoples Academy!

Norwich

At the Ledyard Bridge Climate Strike, more than 700 people linked hands across the bridge between Norwich, VT, and Hanover, NH! Thanks to Linda Gray for the info.



Photo by Troy McBride

Putney

At Landmark College, one team came up with a plan to grow perennials in the solar greenhouse for sale to plant on the hillsides to make meadow gardens – and reduce carbon by no longer mowing and creating COs and having the plants absorbing more CO2. Another team came up with a plan to have Dining Hall issued take out Tupperware and re-fillable water bottles to eliminate the need for individually packed “grab-n-go” items. Instead students can take food from the line out in their reusable container. Notice what is on the TV screen! Thanks to Tamara Stenn for the info.


    Photo by Tamara Stenn

    Randolph

    Photo by Chris Wood


    Photo by Sylvie Desautels

    Rutland 
    Photos by David Coppock

    Sharon

    At Sharon Academy, Students orchestrated options for those who wanted to strike: ongoing supported letter writing and phone calls to representatives, senators, governor, school board of directors.  Three scheduled events took place as well – Climate lawyer Gus Speth, local Rep Jim Masland, and a showing of “THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE: Climate Change, Capitalism & Community”. Some students did not come to school but joined forces with nearby, larger actions in Randolph or Montpelier.  The organizing students intentionally chose to plan action at their school, to make it accessible and provide an experience of action in your home, offering an alternative to driving hours away to make a difference. Thanks to Christa Wurm for the info.


    Photo by Christa Wurm

      South Burlington

      We’d still love to receive photos–please let us know if you have any to share!

      South Strafford

      In Strafford we (the Strafford Climate Strike Planning Group, now calling ourselves the Strafford Climate Action Committee) held a “strike” in front of Barrett Hall in South Strafford, on Route 132. The action, from 7:30-9:30 AM on Friday Sept. 20, had about 100 people for the whole 2 hours, and many signs. There was a steady stream of cars coming through (most on the way to I-89), many of them honked in support.  I think no one drove through South Strafford on Friday morning without realizing that SOMETHING was going on! Thanks to Susan Hodges for the info!


      Photos by Wally Smith

      Stowe

      Some Stowe High School students walked out of school and held a mini-rally. Huge props to these students for taking action even in the face of opposition!

      Townshend


      Photo: Mary Davis

      Vergennes

      Vergennes High School students organized a rally and die-in following their annual Peace One Day celebration and a day of climate change-themed workshops.

      Waitsfield

        
      Photos: Julia Frank


      HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REST OF THE WEEK OF ACTION

      The rallies and marches on Sept. 20 got crowds out of school and work and into the streets! And then there were dozens of diverse actions throughout Vermont over the course of the following week. They ranged from contemplative climate justice-themed walks and tree planting ceremonies to powerful acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. Here are just a few!

      Fri. 9/20 – Winooski: water ceremony

      After the Burlington rally, some activists held a water ceremony on the Winooski River Bridge.

      Mon. 9/23 – statewide: banner drops

      Activists dropped over 100 banners with climate justice messages from highway overpasses throughout the state.


      Photos by Jessica Pierce

      Mon. 9/23 – Burlington: rapid-response Enbridge protest

      After learning of the Public Utility Commission’s decision to give Enbridge quite a bit of influence in Vermont, via Vermont Gas and Green Mountain Power, a dozen activists showed up for a rapid-response protest at the Vermont Gas office. No more pipelines in Vermont!


      Photos: Jim Mendell

      Mon. 9/23 – Burlington: I-89 swarm

      Activists blocked Main St. in Burlington, and the on-ramps to I-89.


      Photos: Jim Mendell

      Wed. 9/25 – Montpelier: protest against fossil-fuel lobbyists

      This was an action to call for a Vermont lobbying firm to drop some of their reprehensible clients–fossil fuel companies, Big Pharma, and corporations perpetrating human rights abuses of migrants. The interests of these companies have no place in the Vermont State House!
       

      Photos by Lily Jacobson

      Sat. 9/28 – Bow, NH: rally & action to shut down a coal plant

      Coal is still being burned in New England in 2019! Political and economic leaders are not doing enough to move our society away from fossil fuels, toward renewable energy with a just transition. We’ll remove the fuel from the fires burning the planet ourselves, #bucketbybucket if we have to. Activists from all over New England converged on the Merrimack Generating Station to call for the closing of the plant and the end the age of fossil fuels.


      Photos by Jim Mendell

      VT Digger: Climate activists target lobbying firm MMR

      “Today we are channeling our resistance to the fossil fuel industry into action against MMR, a lobbying firm just down the block,” 350Vermont organizer Julie Macuga said to a crowd of about 75 people. 

      Next to her, a sign that rally-goers were encouraged to sign listed the companies the activists are demanding MMR drop. They included Vermont Gas, ExxonMobil, National Grid, CoreCivic, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, Procter & Gamble and PhRMA. At the end of the rally, activists parked the sign on the lawn of MMR’s office.

      “MMR is helping the fossil fuel industry, lobbying against divestment, lobbying against carbon pricing, lobbying against bans on fossil fuel infrastructure,” Macuga said. “MMR is helping the fossil fuel industry, and therefore they are culpable.” “

      Read more HERE.

      Burlington Free Press: Thousands show up for Burlington climate rally, part of Global Climate Strike

      “Students from grade schools to colleges made up a majority of the crowd in Burlington, many holding signs with messages decrying fossil fuel consumption, including one saying there was no “planet B” and one with the words “Time’s Up” with a drawing of the Earth on fire.

      “We know that the climate emergency isn’t coming, it’s already here,” said Vermont Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, D-Windham, on the steps of City Hall, the crowd erupting into cheers. 

      Balint said that elected officials like her need to be held accountable. She also said that, as a parent, she needs to be able to look her two kids in the eye and tell them what she did to protect the planet they will inherit. 

      “Change is coming, we will make it so,” Balint said. “We must make it so.””

      Read more HERE.

      Times Argus: Montpelier braces for student climate strike action

      “Many students are deeply concerned by what they see as a lack of attention to the issue of climate change,” Sabo said. “They see it as a crisis, and they want the leaders of government and industry to do something about it. … As a teacher, I encourage students to actively participate and engage in their community and government. So, I am pleased with their initiative and resolve.”

      Lena Donofrio, 12, is a seventh-grader at Main Street Middle School, who said she will be taking part in Friday’s protest.

      “We’re mostly trying to get more people involved in the global movement, Fridays For Future, and maybe to spread more awareness and get more people involved,” Donofrio said. “So we’re hoping to get a lot of people involved with this march and maybe others in the future.”

      Donofrio also noted that students have called for a meaningful curriculum in schools to help students understand how to deal with climate change in the future.

      “I think that it’s really important that students address climate change more, because it’s important that kids know not just that there are some gases going into our atmosphere and it will be OK,” she said. 

      READ MORE HERE

      VT State Employees Association Members Declare a Climate Emergency at Annual Meeting

      Whereas, the Earth’s climate has already warmed by approximately one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), and critical thresholds of 1.5 degrees C and beyond are almost unavoidable, the Vermont State Employees Association approved an official declaration of a Climate Emergency this past Saturday, 9/14/2019. 

      The group declared at its Annual Meeting, Saturday, September 14, 2019, that “the members of the Vermont State Employees Association call on all union members and all governments and peoples worldwide to declare a Climate Emergency; and to initiate a just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort to reverse global warming by restoring near pre-industrial global average temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations, that immediately halts the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, rapidly phases out all fossil fuels and the technologies which rely upon them, ends greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, transitions to regenerative agriculture, ends the sixth mass extinction, and creates and guarantees high-quality, good-paying jobs with comprehensive benefits for those who will be impacted by this transition.”

      Read the full resolution here.

      Gregory Dennis: Social media and the climate strike

      President Trump and his followers say it’s biased against the right wing.

      Liberals worry that it’s stealing their privacy.

      The El Paso mass murderer used it to spread lies he had read online about an “invasion” at our southern border.

      Social media has a bad reputation. And it’s getting worse.

      CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to explain how Facebook allowed Russian trolls to help swing the election to Trump. The president himself used Twitter to tell American-born members of Congress to “go back where they came from.”

      Read more here

      Coalition calls on Vermonters to join the Climate Strike

      BRATTLEBORO — Local environmental advocates are joining a coalition of Vermonters in events and political actions later this month in response to appeals from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg and the youth climate movement……

      The main event is a walkout of students from Brattleboro Area Middle School and Brattleboro Union High School. The groups will walk to Pliny Park, where there will be speeches, chanting and singing until 1:30 p.m. There will also be a Write for Climate at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center at 10 Vernon St., from 9 to 11 a.m.; and Non-Violent Direct Action training at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

      Read more here

       

      Students to Gather at Main Street Landing Before & After Rally

      Are you a student participating in a walk-out?  Do you have young people in your family who would like to attend the Burlington City Hall Rally? Students can learn more about the Climate Crisis and plan future actions with others teens, before and after the midday rally, creating organizing connections with students from other schools in the area. 

      Thanks to support from the Vermont Peace and Justice Center, our host, the Main Street Landing,  has generously donated the use of their 200-seat Film House, complete with feature-size screen projection, to kick off Strike Week

      Let’s plan for the future so we can all have one.

      8:30am: Gathering, introductions (who’s here from where?), planning the day.
      9:00am: Film: Beyond Crisis and youth-led community discussion 
      11:45am: Join the Climate Crisis Rally
      2:15pm: Return for student organizing (what’s next?) and other speakers.
      3:30-4pm: Clean-up and networking.

      Please email [email protected] if you (or someone you know) would be a qualified speaker about the climate crisis or climate crisis response organizing.

      For immediate release: Broad Coalition Calls on Vermonters to Join the Climate Strike

      September 10, 2019

      Media Contacts:
      Divya Gudur, Middlebury Student Organizer, [email protected],  (847) 363-1628
      Grace Hsiang, Student Organizer, [email protected], (802) 503-7256
      Abby Mnookin, Mother Up! Coordinator at 350VT, [email protected], (802) 490-6393
      Greg Dennis, VT Climate Coalition Volunteer, [email protected], (802) 989-4115

      Website: www.vermontclimatestrike.org 

      Broad Coalition Calls on Vermonters to Join the Climate Strike

      A Packed Week of Events To Address Climate Change Will Follow September 20 Climate Strike

      In response to appeals from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg and the youth climate movement, a broad coalition of Vermonters is planning dozens of events and political actions this month.

      Large public rallies in Burlington, Middlebury, and many other towns on Friday, Sept. 20 will be part of a day of climate strikes and walkouts at schools and businesses in Vermont and around the world. 

      Hazel Civalier, a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School, spoke of the need for “stopping business as usual. We, the youth of today and tomorrow, deserve a future where we can hope for more than survival, and an education that will prepare us to continue the work of creating it.”

      September’s climate strikes continue a worldwide campaign by schoolchildren calling on adults to step up, speak out, and do their share to protect current and future generations against the worst impacts of global warming. Greta Thunberg, who recently journeyed to the U.S. on a solar-powered sailboat and who will speak to a United Nations climate conference of Sept. 23, started the movement by skipping school on Fridays to protest inaction on climate change. 

      With this current climate crisis and with the call to action voiced by youth globally in mind, the Vermont Strike Coalition demands the following:

      • Comprehensive and immediate solutions rooted in the respect for and dignity of all people.
      • Support for just policies that transition rapidly to a clean and renewable energy economy for all.
      • A commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
      • A just and inclusive movement that centers frontline communities.

      “Vermont has always been a leader in the climate movement, and we’re heeding the call of concerned youth. We need Vermonters to step up and demand action to protect us and our children,” said Abby Mnookin of 350Vermont, one of the organizations in the climate coalition. “With eight days of actions, we’re kicking it into high gear and asking Vermonters to go on strike Friday the 20th. If they can’t strike all day, they can temporarily walk out from their workplaces and schools to join a local event and demand action on climate change.”

      The Sept. 20 rally in Burlington will begin at noon at Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street. Along with other strikes on the 20th, Vermont activities planned for Sept. 20-28 are:

      • An action against fossil-fuel lobbyists;
      • Distribution of large public banners about climate change around the state;
      • A direct action targeting one of the few remaining coal plants in the Northeast; and
      • Musical performances, worship services, a tour of a regenerative agriculture farm, and more. 

      For info on the dozens of upcoming events, see www.vermontclimatestrike.org/events/list

      Among the Vermont organizers of strike-related activities is Extinction Rebellion Vermont. “The damage to the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian and our government’s coarse response to the plight of Bahamians are more examples of the devastating impacts of climate change and the ineffectiveness of our political leadership to properly respond to the needs of people on the front lines of the crisis. As these storms are made worse by the manufacture and burning of fossil fuels, it is critical to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable, and connected,” said Dan Batten of Extinction Rebellion Vermont. 

       Organizations providing financial support include Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Sierra Club, Chelsea Green, SunCommon, 350.org, Front Porch Forum, and Eco-Equipment Supply.  

      ###

      Actions and organization details

      The climate strike and week of action in Vermont are being organized by the statewide coalition and other grassroots activists as well as students from schools around the state. Here are some of the supporting organizations:

      • 350Vermont
      • Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America
      • Climate Disobedience Center
      • Climate Economy Action Center of Addison County
      • EnACT at Champlain Valley Union High School
      • Extinction Rebellion Vermont
      • Sunday Night Environmental Group at Middlebury College
      • Sunrise Movement Burlington
      • Sunrise Movement Middlebury
      • US Youth Climate Strike VT
      • Upper Valley Affinity Group
      • University of Vermont Youth Climate Summit
      • Vermont Natural Resources Council
      • Vermont Public Interest Research Group
      • Vermont Youth Lobby

      (See vermontclimatestrike.org for other groups).