Protesters take on climate change

 “Hey, ho, climate change has got to go.” The thunderous chant blasted through the echo chamber that is downtown Fort Worth promptly at 9 a.m. on Sept. 20. Ingrid Archibald, a graduate of Washington University’s Environmental Studies Program led the demonstration, capping her five-year plan as a field organizer with Audubon Texas. 

The Audubon Society, known for protecting birds and bird habitats, is leading the fight in Texas to change the way we use fossil fuels and pressure lawmakers into funding climate friendly resources. Archibald said via a Twitter that, “I know ultimatums aren’t very productive, but I don’t know what else to say: Either you actively support survival on our planet or you don’t.”

As the crowd shifted its deafening chants to “system change not climate change,” information tables were set up to answer questions from those passing by,  public servants and journalists.

Fort Worth resident Jim Roaten holds climate change protest signs.

Fort Worth resident Jim Roaten holds climate change protest signs.

“I’m asking people to sign the petition, to be on the list, to be kept involved in the campaign about renewable and clean energy and letting our legislators know how important this is to us,” said Jennifer Girard. “I’m a volunteer, but my niece (Archibald) is here on behalf of Audubon Society running this campaign and they’re going to be talking to Texas legislators and getting a group of folks together here in Texas.” 

September 20-27 marked the Global Climate Strike. Four million people all over the world joined the youth-led action calling for climate action and an end of the fossil-fuel era. Activists from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area joined in the fight. 

The day before this demonstration at city hall, the greater Houston area was hit by Tropical Storm Imelda, dropping more than 40 inches of rain on some parts of the area, according to The Associated Press (AP). Girard remembered the results of Hurricane Harvey from 2017 and elaborated on her reasoning for being climate-conscious activist.

“For me personally, this was a very good coincidence, but I became very involved when we [the U.S.] started doing things like pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, when we started dismantling the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), as well as the escalation of our global temperature. I’m also an animal advocate, so I keep an eye on how the animals are doing,” Girard said.

Teenage climate activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, spoke Sept. 20 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. She faced members of the United Nations and scolded world leaders.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” Thunberg said. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

She added: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us.”

Girard was motivated by the courage of Thunberg and, when it comes to the personal responsibility of citizens, she takes what she calls the Thunberg approach.

“I’ve been so impressed with Greta Thunberg going out talking to people and when people ask her ‘What can I do, what’s the one thing I can do?’ She (Thunberg) says ‘Understand the science, just understand the science of what is happening with climate change’ and I think that’s just a brilliant answer, because it’s not just one thing. It really takes an educated look at science,” Girard said.