Sebastopol junior high students lead climate strike in downtown plaza

While students from Analy High School took to the streets in downtown Santa Rosa, a local junior high school class organized the Global Climate Strike in the Sebastopol plaza.

“The organizers were students from my class at Sunridge Charter School, and I am extremely proud of them,” teacher Christina Gosling wrote on Sonoma West’s Facebook page. “It took a lot of time and effort to put this event together.”

“The signs were made from repurposed paper that was taken from the trash. The whole class is going to take part in tree planting in a couple of months. Many of the students have made radical lifestyle changes, such as altering their diets, shopping only at thrift stores and so on. They feel strongly enough about this issue to research and act on their own without adult help or ‘indoctrination,’” Gosling wrote in response to a Facebook post critical of the Global Climate Strike.

Plenty of adults got in on the Climate Strike action, too — appearing with homemade signs or stopping to make one at the sign-making station the students had set up.

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Esmé Kaplan-Kinsey read her poem, “An Apology,” at the Climate Strike.

Esmé Kaplan-Kinsey, a senior at Credo High School in Rohnert Park, kicked off Sebastopol’s Climate Strike gathering with a reading of her poem, “An Apology.”

An Apology

By Esmé Kaplan-Kinsey

A letter to the future.

We are sorry, but not sorry enough to change.

We look out our window, and the sky

is still blue, and the lilacs still bloom

in the spring, and it is hard,

so very hard to get perspective.

The world started with a bang,

and we assume it will end with one.

If we can’t hear it crashing down around our ears,

how bad can it really be?

We want to change. We want

you to understand that many of us tried. We hope

that you understand. We hope

there is something left for you to understand. We hope

there is something left.

But we are so slow and so stubborn,

we dye the ocean brown so our signs

can sparkle neon, we deaden the air

so our cities can climb higher into the darkening sky.

We are creatures of the short term; we love shine

and youth and glamour,

front-facing eyes have trouble looking anywhere

but ahead, fixed on what prey we can find.

So we pull what little redemption

we can from the old, the ancient, we

colonize the earth and skies

and use what suits our purpose,

without a thought to what might

be left behind.

Future, we are writing you this letter

with every action we take

every heavy breath we exhale.

We have controlled the wind

and the tides and the fire

and now all that is left

is to figure out

how to control ourselves.

We can tell you of the beauty that once was.

We will leave you record

of the blue sky

and the lilacs blooming in spring,

of water running silver through the forests

and the smell of rain before a storm.

We will leave you record of the glory

that we sought to conquer

at a price we could never pay.

We can no longer promise you anything.

If we do, you should not believe us.

We have broken enough promises already.

We have built our lives

around the short-term,

and taking you into account,

Future,

might cause all we have built to collapse.

We are greedy, and often well-meaning, and never quite

brave enough.

We are out of control.

We are sorry,

but it remains to be seen

if we are sorry enough to change.

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