Hundreds of Utah youth march for climate action in global call-to-action

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Hundreds of young demonstrators skipped school and work to march along State Street Friday afternoon, urging immediate action from lawmakers in conjunction with a global call-to-action.

The event began with a rally at the Salt Lake City and Council Building before participants marched up to the Utah State Capitol to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.

“We need to keep our planet under 1.5 degrees Celsius. If we don’t, it’ll be catastrophic and we’re already seeing the effects of it,” said Ari Grace, activist with Fridays for Future. “We’re at the point where we don’t have time to act gradually. It’s been pushed off for so long that we have to do something now.

Organizers said that according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions must be reduced by 45 percent in 2030 to prevent climate catastrophe.

“It’s really infuriating because it feels like we’re not being heard and our futures don’t matter,” said march participant Laura Cooksky. “I think people like President Trump are going to be dead by the time it actually impacts us. We’re the ones that are going to have to suffer and our kids will be suffering too.”

Some of the youth said they are not old enough to vote, so marching and rallying was the only way to get their voices heard.

“In the 2020 election, I will be one month too young to vote. I care so deeply about the climate crisis and to know that I don’t get a say in what happens next year terrifies me,” said Grace. “How do I know the adults will make the right decision? I will show them the right decision. I can’t vote, but I can strike.” 

Organizers said the Global Climate Strike and Fridays for Future movement was sparked by Greta Thunburg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist. They estimated that there were more 2,500 strikes taking place in approximately 117 countries Friday. 

“I want to have a future. I want to live to see myself become old, have a family. I just want to be able to experience that,” said Darius Maufas, one of the event organizers. “Climate change doesn’t discriminate. This is an issue that impacts everybody.”

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