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Students on strike: Lexington high schoolers rally for Green New Deal

Posted at 2:04 PM, Apr 14, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Since they were barely old enough to toddle around the house, this generation of high school students has been hearing about the perils of climate change. Today they decided to do something about it.

“My generation has grown up in the midst of this crisis. We’ve been grappling with what it means to have this kind of crisis looming over us,” said Lily Gardner, a student at Henry Clay High School.

Vidhi Buch said the can has been kicked down the road more than enough times.

“We are experiencing a climate crisis right now,” Buch said while alluding to the recent flooding in eastern Kentucky as a possible consequence of climate change.

The Sunrise Movement is a national organization using -- among other measures -- peaceful demonstrations, like today’s in downtown Lexington, to implore state and federal government officials to agree on a Green New Deal that will not only improve climate conditions, but add green new jobs.

“I grew up in eastern Kentucky where our economy was dependent on a boom or bust coal cycle,” Gardner said.

She isn’t the only student who saw the negative impact those swings can have on the community.

"The coal industry is dying,” said Calista Case, who also lived for many years in eastern Kentucky. “With a transition to more green infrastructure that’ll come with climate change, a lot of jobs are being lost,” she continued.

The students who gathered today are just hoping someone in a position of power will hear their message and take it seriously.

“Even if Andy Barr doesn’t listen to us,” Buch said of Kentucky’s 6th District U.S Congressman, “I hope that our local legislators in Lexington and around Kentucky take notice that we young people are not going to rest until they do notice us,” she continued.

“The thing I’m most experienced with is the wake of the coal industry leaving and what it meant for our community to be left in the dust,” Gardner added.