By CHAZ PLAGER
Palisades Charter High School students stood up for the Earth and the environment on Friday, September 16, holding a Youth Climate Rally adjacent to the Village Green.
“We refuse not to act,” protest leader Carter Yean said to the crowd. “This situation terrifies me. It should terrify every single one of you! Because it is our future. And we are here to take it back!”
The demonstration for climate justice, also held a year ago at the same location, was aligned with Fridays for Future strikes around the world.
More than 50 students, a few residents and members of the PaliHi marching band left the high school at 1 p.m., after school let out, and walked up Radcliffe Avenue to Swarthmore Avenue, which was closed off for a half-block at Sunset Boulevard.
PaliHi color guard members Cayenne Jackson and Becca Alpern provided visual support as the band played Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” during the march.
Resident Kristine Wyatt had heard about the protest through an Action Network email and said, “Anything I can do to help future generations, I will,” as she followed students up the street.
Carrying a sign warning “Time’s Up,” long-time resident Elrene Bower also joined the students. “I’m encouraged by seeing these kids,” she said. “This is important, and I wanted to be part of something with young people.”
The protest was supported by Resilient Palisades, a nonprofit focused on several green-energy campaigns in the community, and The Plant Lab, a vegan Japanese food truck that was onsite to provide refreshments.
For the next three hours, students were joined by other Palisades residents to protest the destruction of the environment and to encourage action against climate change.
Organizers of the event were Shawna Ashley, Carter Yean, Adina Hefner, Nicole Abbott, Natalie Rodriguez, Elise Patton and Olivia LaVia. All six are members of EAST, the Environmental and Spatial Technology class at Pali, taught by Steve Engelmann.
EAST is a community service-based class, where members vote on projects and work to make them happen, such as this demonstration.
Students lined up along Sunset, holding various hand-drawn signs that received many approving honks and thumbs-up from passing motorists.
“Save Her [Mother Earth], Before It’s Too Late,” Pali Ambassador Heaven Martin’s sign read. Other signs included “Your Planet Needs Your Help,” “I’m Sure Dinosaurs Thot They Had Time Too,” “Make Humanity Sustainable,” “Planet Over Profits,” “Eat Plants, Plant Trees.”
Meanwhile, Pali Green Club president Eva Engel, Pali’s HRW Student Task Force co-president Clementine Causse and others used a megaphone to channel everyone’s energy and lead them in chants to the beat of Pali’s drum section. These chants included:
- “No more coal, no more oil! Keep your climate in the soil!”
- “What do we want?” “Climate justice!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”
- “Climate change is not a lie, Do not let our planet die!”
- “We’re youth united, We’re not going to be defeated!”
Engel told Circling the News, “Our planet is under attack. We’re going to stand up and fight back.”
And they are not simply demonstrating. In fact, since 2021, students have been actively working at Pali to increase energy efficiency on campus, transition to renewable energy and introduce climate change education.