On Friday, hundreds of young people in New Hampshire will go on strike from school to protest what they say is the federal government’s failure to take action to stop climate change.
Participants in New Hampshire will join thousands of other young people holding strikes across the country and the world. Friday’s strike in the Granite State will occur in Portsmouth’s Market Square, and is being led by Portsmouth High School students Connor Durkin and Eliza Rakasader.
The New Hampshire Youth Climate Strike feels political leaders in New Hampshire and around the world have failed to prioritize — and in some cases even acknowledge — climate change. According to the United Nations, there are only 11 years left to reverse the worst effects of climate change.
The youth climate strike makes the following demands through their protest: Enact radical legislation to combat climate change on local and state levels in New Hampshire, adopt the Green New Deal to shift the U.S. to 100 percent clean, renewable and net-zero emission energy sources through what they call a fair and just transition for all communities and workers, and declare the climate crisis a national emergency.
The Portsmouth strike will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Market Square. Durkin said he and Rakasader have reached out to a few local environmentalists such as former state Rep. Mindi Messmer of Rye, Portsmouth City Councilor Josh Denton and a representative from 350 New Hampshire. Durkin said on the day of the event, students are either striking from school entirely, or leaving partway through the day to join the strike. The event is geared toward young people, but it is open to all, and participants are asked to wear green.
Students from Oyster River, Berwick Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy are expected to attend.
Youth climate protests also are planned for Friday across Maine, including in Bar Harbor, where College of the Atlantic and Mount Desert High School students will gather at noon at the YWCA to speak about climate change and their demands for global, national, and local climate action. Other protests will be held Brunswick, Lewiston, Portland and Saco.
BDN writer Christopher Burns contributed to this report.