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Why We March: Climate Strike

Friday, September 20, 2019

Why do we march? With posters in hand, Shu Ren students joined millions of people around the world for the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20, 2019. The aim of the youth movement is to voice the urgency for more responsive environmental policies and initiatives worldwide. 

This Climate Strike directly connects with the Shu Ren core values: Inquiry, Action, and Global Citizenship.

Inquiry

We march because we support science and inquiry

At Shu Ren inquiry drives all learning. Students are immersed in a learning environment where questions and curiosities lead to a deeper understanding of issues of local and global significance. 

Just three weeks into the school year, our 3rd and 4th grade students felt compelled to share what they discovered through their inquiry into renewable energy resources. During our assembly period this Thursday, they shared data on the average emission rates of Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Dioxide in California  and compared them to the national averages.

 “The chart shows the different kinds of energy we use. We use a lot of non-renewable energy like coal and stuff you dig from the earth that puts out a lot of CO2, so we need to change and use more renewable energy.”  Grant in Grade 4. 

They then shared data on the United States use of fossil fuels and compared it to other countries around the world. This inquiry has prompted them to consider the different perspectives of how energy use impacts our planet and communities. 

“There are pros and cons to both renewable and non-renewable energy. Like, coal is very reliable and it is easy to find. Oil, which is under the sea is hard to get. The cons of coal are, one, they pollute the environment air and two, it will run out eventually. Solar panels when they are produced require really harmful metals like lead and mercury and also emit a bit of CO2. However, it doesn’t produce as much as burning coal.”  Holly, Grade 4.

Action

We march because we invest in student agency. 

We believe in the intellectual, social-emotional, and creative capability of our students to take meaningful and intentional action. We want to instill a belief in our students that their education has a purpose and they can take what they learn to advocate for a better world. 

“Scientist say that climate change is bad, but no one does anything about it. The march today lets people know that you can do something no matter how young or old you are,” comments Kali, Grade 6

Sometimes it takes just one impactful experience to spark a passion for a cause. We hope through our curriculum and these unique experiences, one day, our students will be involved in the science, technology, and diplomacy that create solutions to impending environmental issues. 

Global Citizenship

We march because we are part of a global community. 

“I love our earth and we need to protect it together.” Kennedy, Kindergarten.

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) school we aim to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world (IBO.org). 

This historic march brought together students from around the world who want to bring awareness to environmental issues backed by science. Issues our students have inquired into in the past such as the trash islands in the ocean, how melting glaciers impact ocean habitats, and how pollution affects our health. 

As one student marcher expressed, “This is not a political cause, this is a human cause.”  When we look at the science of how our behavior and choices affect our planet, we can see why our youth are so compelled to have their voices heard. They understand that they will inherit whatever impact our nation's policies have on the environment and their communities. They understand that change and care for our world require global unity.