Inspired by a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, about 15 people showed up at Highland Park Arboretum Friday to strike against climate change. They joined about 1,600 cities during their “Strike Up the Band!” global climate strike.

Greta Thunberg launched Fridays for Future, the organizer of the global climate strike. Thunberg started striking by herself in August last year and her movement has grown to a global scale, now taking place every Friday. Thunberg was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019 and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

“She is the reason we are doing this now,” said Kay Light, one of the participants at the Hastings strike.

The Fridays for Future strike is directed at younger people to leave their school every Friday and encourage policy-makers to pass environmentally friendly laws.

In Hastings, classes have finished for the summer, so local organizers Margaret Marsh and Robin Vodenhal decided to make musical instruments out of trash to attract the younger generation. They worked with Good Neighbors of Hastings and Central Nebraska Peace Workers to organize the event.

Children and teens banged on empty cans with sticks and shook empty containers with seeds while walking the perimeter of the arboretum. The group also made postcards to send to local and state legislatures and posters before their walk.

While the strike was focused on the younger generation, several older people also participated to encourage the younger generation.

“There was a no-litter campaign and it seems like those things have been forgotten,” said Tom Genung, 75, referencing the Keep America Beautiful campaign that was founded in 1953.

“We need to be supportive of young people.”

 The participants wanted to raise potential changes that could be made in state and local regulations. They suggested banning or reducing plastic bags and encourage recycling education and opportunities.

“We have to become minimalists. We have to reduce and reuse,” said Anna Harms, one of the participants.

Currently, there are no intentions to continue weekly strikes, but Good Neighbors of Hastings plans to make weekly posts on its Facebook page to encourage individual action.

March 15 was the strike’s biggest in the Fridays for Future campaign with 1.6 million people participating, according to their website.


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