Dhathry Doppalapudi | Torrey Pines High School Senior
In late September, thousands of schools and communities participated in the Global Climate Strike, a series of international strikes and school walkouts to demand government action against climate change. An estimated 2 million students, worldwide, participated in the school walkouts. However, it was a different story for some San Diego high schools.
Torrey Pines High School did not participate in the walkout. BriAnn, a senior from TP, said it was because students did not want to miss class for it.
“I think most people knew that it was happening in other places,” she said. “But I think people cared more about their classes and schoolwork than participating in a walkout that they feel isn’t going to really do anything.”
Oscar, a Scripps Ranch High School senior, said that although his school did not participate, he still thinks it is important. “It raises awareness and sends a message to our government that we want to see change,” he said.
BriAnn disagrees. “If a bunch of kids leave their class, that’s not going to make anyone take climate change any more seriously than they’ve already been taking it,” she said. “It’s not any government officials are going to pay attention just because some kids didn’t want to show up to class.”
It’s not that students in San Diego don’t understand or care enough about climate change, BriAnn says, but rather that they don’t feel that they have the power to influence any political change through the walkout.
Oscar, on the other hand, thinks that the responsibility falls to the students because “this should be the top priority for our government and for some reason they can’t see that.” He also argues that it should not be a controversial, partisan issue because it affects everyone not only now, but in the future as well.
Most teenagers would likely side with either BriAnn or Oscar on the issue of how much power and influence teenagers actually possess to create change in important topics such as climate change. While students like Oscar are optimistic and believe that if teenagers and youth speak up loudly enough for what they want, they could convince those in office to create legislation that benefits their cause, other students like BriAnn do not have the same faith.
“Especially for teenagers, I can’t think of anything we could do that could actually make any difference,” she said. “Obviously we care, but we don’t feel like we have any say in the matter.”