Hundreds of students and other activists took to the streets in downtown Chicago on December 6 as part of the Youth Climate Strike. The strike was organized by youth activists in recognition of the increasingly dire environmental crisis and to demand climate justice.
Overwhelmingly attended by young people, the strike marched from Crown Fountain in Millennium Park to the famous Chicago “Bean,” where protesters staged an 11-minute die-in to call attention to the 11 years that climate scientists and the United Nations have said we have left to avert the most disastrous effects of climate change.
Youth organizers lead chants like “Planet over profits!” and “Hey hey, ho ho, capitalism has got to go!” to demonstrate that in order to truly prevent catastrophic climate change, we need to change the entire economic system.
Another popular chant, “Mayor Lightfoot, hey you! We deserve a future too!” placed pressure on Chicago’s mayor to take immediate action on environmental concerns, such as the over 400,000 lead service lines that poison the city’s water supply with lead, a dangerous neurotoxin that is not safe to consume at any level.
Student protesters told Liberation News about why they were out in the streets instead of the classroom. Savanna explained that she is, “part of the new generation, and I’m here to make a change to save our planet. I’m here to turn can’ts into cans and dreams into plans.” Another student, Anely, said that she believed, “in the power of people gathering together for the same purpose,” and that she hoped the display of youth power would make the city of Chicago, and the entire world, realize how necessary it is to combat climate change right now.
As many politicians in both the Democratic and Republican parties continue to refuse to address the climate crisis which capitalism has fueled, the youth are showing that they are not going to wait silently while sea levels rise and the Amazon burns. They are going to take the future into their own hands.
For the planet to live, capitalism must end!