Friday, September 20 was the beginning of the global strike for climate organized and inspired by Greta Thunberg. As one of the heads of the Sustainability Committee, I had been helping brainstorm ideas for how Groton students could participate from the relative isolation of the Circle. Initially, we had planned to head into Boston to join in the larger march there. However, the logistics of busing any interested students out to Boston for the day, and navigating the missed class and commitments, proved challenging. We also wanted a way to include the whole community and bring the issue of the climate crisis directly to the campus.
Ultimately, we settled on organizing our own mini climate strike. So, on that Thursday morning, I and a fellow committee head walked into the Deans’ Office, convinced them of the need for a strike, and shortly after received the necessary approval from the Academic Dean. After several all-school and all-faculty emails, we had alerted everyone of our plan to walk out of our morning classes early and gather for a presentation in the school Forum.
The only slight catch was that while everyone else was ready to join us, we had just begun to organize our own end of the strike. While Groton’s size enabled us to establish a strike in a matter of hours on the day before it was set to happen, we hadn’t quite thought beyond securing permission. Fortunately, the network of the thousands of other strikes and organizers proved invaluable. I wrote my speech too late that night after finishing my other homework. By the following morning, we had amassed enough videos and information to fill the time and persuade the school of the need to act. We were set to go.
The next morning, I pushed past my aversion of public speaking and addressed what seemed like most of the school, urging everyone “to commit today to fight for tomorrow” and trying to impress on the community the same urgency I feel towards this issue. I don’t really remember those minutes, but my friends assured me it went well.
However, as I reminded everyone that morning, that day wasn’t the end of the effort. The forces that pushed me to scramble and organize last-minute did not go away. The Sustainability Committee called a meeting that evening to gather ideas from the whole community of all the changes we can make on campus to better support the environment. As a result, my to-do list has grown and my fall will undoubtedly be filled with meetings with a wide range of people on this campus who can help in the effort. Ultimately, it was a hectic, but nonetheless rewarding, end to the second week of school.