ESHS Environmental Club plans climate-change rally

Friday, September 27, 2019

By Haley Schichtl

The Eureka Springs High School Environmental Club will host a rally for climate change awareness at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Eureka Springs Community Center.

The rally is part of a week-long Global Climate Strike from Friday, Sept. 20 to Friday, Sept. 27. The week was organized by students, including 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, though people are expected to walk out of their schools and workplaces to protest in more than 150 countries to encourage policy makers to act on climate change.

The Environmental Club hopes to start a conversation among Eureka Springs citizens about how we can reduce our environmental impact, and will ask them to sign a petition asking local restaurants to reduce or eliminate Styrofoam and plastic take-out packaging.

Kate Ambach, who runs the Farmers’ Market at the community center, helped the students reserve the spot there for the rally. High school art teacher Jessica Cummings held a meeting for students interested in starting an environmental club along with her regular art club meeting at the beginning of the school year.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of my students have no understanding of basic things, from recycling to the larger things like where our climate is going and how it’s affecting our weather,” Cummings said.

The Environmental Club hopes to attract attention to the event through the Global Climate Strike’s social media presence, and by providing cookies wrapped in handmade cloth napkins. Cummings said that, while the school-led organization can’t encourage students to actually go on strike during school hours, she and the students are hoping to turn the event into a quarterly tradition to create a new initiative for themselves every three months.

“We also want it to be something that’s fun, that people look forward to,” Cummings said. “So hopefully eventually we’ll have music, and maybe get food involved, so we can all get together and it’s not like, a bummer.”

She said she believes this is important not just to inform people about the issue of climate change, but also to make students understand that their generation is the one that will be able to fix the climate problem in the long run.

“Not that it’s going to be just an apocalyptic, everybody’s gone, sort of thing, but the way we know life — I think if we don’t start doing something immediately, we’re going to have to get used to a much different way of life,” Cummings said.

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