Greensburg joins in Global Climate Strike
Xander Davis, a senior at Hempfield Area High School, is concerned about climate change.
“I’m worried for a future about which I once had hopes and dreams,” said Davis, one of several young people who spoke Friday outside the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg.
More than 100 people joined in a Global Climate Strike event organized by the nonprofit group Voices of Westmoreland to draw awareness and spur action regarding climate change.
The event was one of more than 700 Global Climate Strikes scheduled worldwide, ahead of next week’s U.N. Summit on Climate Change in New York.
Other climate strikes took place in Pittsburgh and other major cities, among them Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
“We’re here to give ourselves a voice,” said Greensburg Salem High School senior Thomas Barnette-Contreras. “The consequences of climate change are real, and they’re happening this very second. This is a defining issue for our generation, and for generations to come.”
Placards with messages such as “There is no Planet B,” “Time’s Up,” “Believe in Science” and “Every Natural Disaster Movie Starts with Scientists Being Ignored” waved in the air at the corner of Main and East Pittsburgh streets, as passing drivers honked.
“The climate belongs to everyone,” said Sister Mary Norbert Long, one of a group of Seton Hill Sisters of Charity at the event. “The ones on earth with power and money try to deny that anything is wrong, while ignoring the plight of the masses. We are the masses. … Each and every one of us need to be advocates for change.”
In addition to urging attendees to register to vote, speakers urged them to be conscientious of the environment in their purchases, in their daily lives and in their choice of who to support for office.
“We need to be mindful about how politics impacts our environment,” Long said.
For Barbara Zeman of Scottdale, the best thing for the country is a change in federal leadership.
“They’re not only hindering what we’re doing, they’re actually hurting,” Zeman said. “This an issue for everyone: young, old, middle class, rich and poor. It’s going to affect us all, especially the young.”
That sentiment was not lost on Barnette-Contrereas.
“To everyone around the world, we have a message,” he said. “Our fight is not over, our fight is not done. Our fight is just beginning.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .