San Diego

San Diego Students Skip Class, Demand Climate Change Action

With chants supporting a Green New Deal and denouncing fossil fuels, San Diego County students skipped class Friday and join hundreds of thousands across the globe to demand action on climate change.

The international "Youth Climate Strike" rallies were planned in more than 100 countries, including the U.S., Hong Kong, New Delhi, Finland and New Zealand.

At least two were held in San Diego County.

In the South Bay, dozens of students gathered at Hilltop High School, signs in hand, Friday morning and began the two-mile trek to Chula Vista City Hall.

Chants of "Hey, hey, ho, ho. Fossil fuels have got to go," and "Climate change is very real, so we demand a green new deal," echoed through a quiet neighborhood as the group began their march.  

The group, comprised of some students as young as 13-years-old, then turned onto Chula Vista's busy H Street. A police patrol vehicle inched beside the group as the teenagers marched.

Some of the students told NBC 7 they felt inclined to skip school because the climate is something that would specifically impact their future.

Millie Fricker, a 13-year-old from Point Loma said the march meant missing a few tests but those could be made up. The climate's future could not. 

"On the way over here there was some people that were like 'No, you should be in school. Climate change is not important.' So I feel like we should convince them that it is real and that it is important," she told NBC 7. 

Support for the marches spread through social media. Sugyan Ciampi-Straneo, 13, said that is what led him to Friday's march. 

"It’s important because then when we're older it'll be much harder to reverse it and now we still have time to change," he said. 

A similar demonstration was held by students at High Tech High School. The group planned to hold a rally at their Liberty Station campus and again outside San Diego City Hall. 

The goal for both marches was to urge local government officials to throw their support behind the Green New Deal, a Democrat-led plan to create jobs in renewable energy in order to combat climate change. 

The Green New Deal was put forth by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and veteran Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

The nonbinding resolution calls for a "10-year national mobilization" on the scale of the original New Deal to shift the economy away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

It sets a goal to meet "100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources," including nuclear power.

Republicans who support the existence of climate change have said it is important to address the subject but seek an alternative solution to the proposed Green New Deal. 

Ahead of Friday's march, students gathered in Chula Vista to hand-paint signs that read, "Raise your voice, not the sea level," and "I'm sure the dinosaurs thought they had time, too." 

"We don’t have much time to address this crisis and we need bold action now. So this is kind of our way to have our voice be heard because otherwise, we don’t think that we would really be heard," student Kate Anchondo said. 

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