(LEX 18) — Students around the world stood together Friday and will again next Friday to demand action on climate change.
Thousands of global strikes were scheduled in roughly 140 countries.
One young activist who plans to speak at the United Nations Climate Summit, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, is one of the organizers behind 'Fridays For Future' the school strikes for climate change.
"I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action,” said Thunberg during a recent congressional hearing.
In Kentucky on Friday there were strikes in Berea, Danville, Louisville, and at the state capitol in Frankfort.
"I wish politicians would take my future more seriously because I believe I want a safer, cleaner for me and my children and my grandchildren," said 13-year-old Gavin Shroyer, an Tates Creek Middle School student.
Shroyer was one of dozens of students who stood outside the capitol in Frankfort Friday afternoon to raise awareness of climate change risks and push for politicians to take action.
The first day of these strikes comes just before a United Nations Climate Summit, where world leaders will present their plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Shroyer, an 8th grader, said he's focused on the conversation around car emissions. "I hope that they'll take everything a little more seriously and start putting bans and laws on so much, like, restrictions on like carbon emissions and how much cars are being sold and maybe they can raise prices on cars that release so much bad energy into the atmosphere cuz it's so unhealthy for our earth."
Thursday the Trump Administration revoked California's ability to set its own emissions standards which lawmakers ay will lead to more asthma, hospitalizations and premature deaths.
The President tweeted this change would make cars cheaper and encouraged auto companies to "seize this opportunity."
....far safer and much less expensive. Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen already agreed to voluntarily follow California's stricter standards.
Friday, California and 22 other states filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to fight the reduced emissions standards, but Kentucky was not one of those states.
21-year-old Benji Backer, founder of the American Conservation Coalition, also spoke before Congress on climate change during the same hearing as Thunberg.
"If we put regulations on different industries, we're not going to be solving the problem. We need to work on decarbonizing fossil fuels and reducing emissions now and we can't do that through regulation. We can only do that with innovation,” said Backer.
The strike in Frankfort on Friday was organized by a Frankfort High School junior.
"I got an email that said, 'Hey we would really like to go to the capitol to do this on behalf of the environment.' They have an environmental club at the high school. I said, 'Absolutely let's make that happen,'" explained Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Kopp.
He said what the kids were doing by taking part in the global strike was "civic engagement in action."
Kopp said, "You have to weigh if it's going to take so much class time away, you always have to look at that but at the end of the day, I'm always going to air on the side of this is application of education principals so I think we can say that these kids are learning a lot by being here today."
To learn more about the movement, you can visit https://globalclimatestrike.net/
There will be a strike in Lexington Friday, September 27, hosted by the Steam Academy.