Princeton students made a statement about their feelings on the issue of climate change.
Students ranging from middle school through college, as well as adults, gathered to sign petitions to show support for the Green New Deal during a climate strike at Hinds Plaza in Princeton on March 15.
Their showing was an effort to force legislators that they need to address climate change.
According to the Green Party, the Green New Deal is proposed legislation that seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
The Green Party further stated that the legislation would also have attached an “Economic Bill of Rights,” the right to single-payer healthcare, a guaranteed job at a living wage, affordable housing and free college education, according to the Green Party.
People were also encouraged to write letters to Congress members and local representatives thanking them for supporting the deal, or asking them to support the proposed economic programs designed to address climate change and economic equality. Letters were also written to Senator Bob Menendez to apply pressure on him to sign on to the Green New Deal.
The students said they were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist who was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.
“We were really inspired by Greta Thunberg’s message about the school strike. We wanted to participate in something at an international level,” said Mary Kotsen, a senior and co-president of the Princeton High School Democrats in Action Club. “This issue is not going to be just affecting our community. When so many high schoolers and so many groups participate in something this big, it makes a really big statement and impact. We want to demonstrate today how we are running out of time on this issue.”
The strike was an extension of a national movement, according to the U.S. Youth Climate Strike movement.
“The issue of climate change affects young people the most. We are going to have to live through the effects of legislation that gets passed today,” said Princeton High junior Ella Norman, who is also a co-president of the Democrats in Action Club. “So many young people are participating today to show that we still have an opinion on this issue and we demand climate action. Even though some of us are not old enough to vote or hold elected office it is important to take action now.”
The students in the Democrats in Action Club spent two weeks organizing the strike.
“I think that age is not important when it comes to getting your message out. I think by having a bunch of high school students, even though we might not be huge in numbers, we are huge in spirit. By rallying together, we can show that young people really have the power to make a difference,” Mary said.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer,, Middlesex, Somerset) joined the rally.
“It warms my heart and fills me with optimism to see these young people out here today. What they are doing here is being matched around the state, country and world,” Zwicker said. “We are seeing young people engaged and demanding action. This is exactly how we are going to make a difference. This is what this country needs and I am just thrilled.”
Isabel Kuziel is a sophomore at Princeton University who joined the rally and strike.
“I think it is important to be down here today,” Kuziel said. “Princeton tends to isolate itself. One of the issues with climate change is that these rich institutions are not engaging with everyone else. I think it is really important as a member of the Princeton community to be a member of the whole community and show solidarity.”
Other strikes were held on the same day, including New Jersey where rallies were staged in Newark, Trenton, Edison and Morrisville.