Ciera Miller, Contributing Writer
Protesters for the Global Climate Strike took to the streets in cities all over the world at noon on Friday, Sept. 20, the people of Farmington marching among them. On the Mantor Green, students, professors and community members assembled just beside the bustling Club Fair with the intent to march through the Farmington area for the climate strike.
The strikers were poised to raise awareness for the crisis that is global warming. The heart of the problem is the significantly increased rate at which greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are released into the atmosphere by human activity and causing Earth’s rapid heating.
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (ICPP) created by the United Nations has found that global warming is a real threat to the world and human life, and that it is being accelerated by humans.
The strikers believe the planet’s warming can be slowed by a collective effort among all people and institutions to make large moves in reducing harm to the environment. As one of the last speakers said at the strike, “If we all work together and do big things, we can make big changes.”
The marchers began their climate strike on the green itself. They walked around one side of the Club Fair and then stopped beside the art gallery. Here, people put on headpieces made to look like elephants, reindeer, and other animals. A person in the mix shouted, “Are we ready to march for our current climate situation?” The strikers responded with a loud “Yes!” The attention of club members and fairgoers had been grabbed. They watched as the group raised their signs and moved forward toward Main St.
They marched down Main until they reached the gazebo across from the courthouse in downtown Farmington. Along the way, other strikers joined in and the line stretched fifty feet down the sidewalk. Passing drivers honked their horns and waved at the procession. At the gazebo, people of all ages had already gathered: there were elementary school children standing with their parents, middle and high schoolers, members of the UMF community and other residents of Farmington.
In their hands were their own signs: “10 Yrs to Change” on one lady’s fiery orange poster, “The Thermometer is Neither Conservative nor Liberal” on another. Professor Éireann Lorsung of the English department hoisted a sign displaying a modified line from Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to an unlive-ably hot summer’s day?. . .No planet, no poetry.” Her sign included the fact that July 2019 was about 1.2℃ (34.16℉) warmer than the pre-Industrial era.
As the protest gained attention, some ideological contentions arose when onlookers voiced differing opinions from those of the protesters. A group of motorcyclists drove by while a UMF student spoke and one of riders yelled, “Why don’t you run for president?” “Go Trump!” was yelled by some passing motorists as they revved their engines.
However, some commuters slowed to read each of the signs or gawk at the person in the fish headpiece who stood by the side of the road. A firefighter in his truck had asked a few questions about the strike while waiting for the stoplight to turn green.