A Greener Tomorrow: Earth Day creates student activism in climage change, ways to help the Earth


On march 15, senior evan Kenyon spent his afternoon listening to speeches from students all over Indiana and participating in chants about climate change while marching around downtown Indianapolis. The event was the Indiana Climate Strike and it is just one example of how students like Kenyon have shown how they care about climate change.

Maddie Kosc
Sophomores Talitha Duckworth (left) and Keloe Sefo (right) stand outside holding up signs they made to protest the growing climate problem. The event occurred on March 15 in front of the statehouse.

“Most of (the speeches) were from students at various high schools, which I thought was very important because it showed how the youth cared,” Kenyon said. “It wasn’t just politicians and other officials, which are obviously also important, but I thought it was really important to show how the youth cared enough to show out and make speeches in a very public setting about their political views on climate change.”

Climate change has risen to become one of the most important issues in today’s society and politics. According to National Geographic, since 1906, the global average surface temperature of the Earth has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And scientists say the effects of climate change have begun to appear right now in the form of extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats and rising sea levels, among other factors

Fran Rushing, AP Environmental Science teacher, said the greenhouse effect—the process that traps greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in order to keep the Earth warm—despite making possible for humans to live on Earth, is also what’s causing this global temperature increase.

“(The greenhouse effect) happens because we have gases that know how to trap the energy, things like water vapor and carbon dioxide and a few other gases that know how to trap that energy and keep it here and not let it escape out into outer space,” Rushing said. “Climate change is occuring because we have more of these gases that are capturing this energy, specifically things like carbon dioxide and methane. They trap a lot of energy and we now have more of those in the atmosphere than we’ve had in the past. So we’re trapping more energy. That extra energy is impacting the climate globally.”

Junior Bennett “Ben” Ring said that as a member of Environmental Action Club, he feels it’s important for people to be aware of climate change and the effects it has on everyone as well as the environment.

“I think knowledge on climate change is essential because our generation is going to be more affected by this than any other generation so far,” Ring said. “It’s important that we understand what’s going on and what we can do to stop it or slow it down because this is what we’re going to be living with for the rest of our lives.”

Kenyon said he believes one of the best ways for students to combat climate change is through student activism.

“If you truly care about a cause, it doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 16 or 15 even, that students voices matter and they can still affect real change,” Kenyon said. “For instance, I was just 10 days shy of being eligible to vote in the most recent election, but I still worked on campaigns for the democrats, because that’s the political party I affiliate with. I strongly believe that if a student wants to make a change in the world, that if they try, they can help in doing such.”

Rushing said Earth Day, which happens on Monday this year, has been a great way to show people that even if people don’t believe in climate change, they should still show the planet respect and be aware of how they treat it.

“Pay attention to your own impact. Pay attention to how many resources you use. If you did little things like carpool instead of everyone driving (your) own car, you could have an impact (on the environment),” Rushing said.

“Can you use energy in a more sustainable way? Can I minimize the amount of stuff I’m using or buying so that there’s not so much trash? If everybody makes those little changes, it could add up to a lot.”

Both Ring and Kenyon said they try their best to avoid actions that could harm the planet, such as avoiding plastic straws and styrofoam, walking when they can instead of driving, and several doing other activities that could contribute to pollution and climate change.

“If I was the only one in the world doing these things, it wouldn’t matter and my personal contributions are relatively insignificant to the whole,” Kenyon said. “But without people like me (who try to contribute), there would be no whole to even contribute to.”