High schoolers protest climate change, support Green New Deal

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COLUMBIA - A group of high school students brought their posters and chants in front of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s office Tuesday afternoon to express their feelings about climate change.

They also used the protest to show support for the Green New Deal, a federal resolution proposing a shift to renewable energy sources and creating millions of new jobs.

Amanda Kurukulasuriya has been involved with the Young Democrats club at Rock Bridge High School since her freshman year. She said it’s important for young people to step up when adults do not.

“We really want to hold our legislators, especially Roy Blunt today, accountable,” Kurukulasuriya said. “When his generation is gone, ours will still be here and we’ll have to deal with the consequences of what their action or lack of action is doing to the planet.”

The students each wrote personal letters to send to Sen. Blunt’s D.C. office asking him to advocate for the Green New Deal and reminding him of the impacts of climate change.

“We’d like him to work with Democrats and Republicans so that we can make a deal that does limit carbon emissions in the future instead of just continuing the path that we’re on,” said Kellen Clowe, a junior at Rock Bridge who organized the event.

Clowe said he is mainly concerned by recent natural disasters occurring around the world. Another Rock Bridge student, Shanley Silvey, said the issue of climate change hits more closely to home.

“In Missouri with the droughts and the severe weather, it can definitely affect agriculture and that can hurt growing crops,” Silvey said.

After hand-delivering their letters to Sen. Blunt’s office, Silvey led the group in climate change chants outside. She said the protest is part of the club’s goal for spreading awareness throughout their school and the community.

“The Green New Deal is the only proposed solution to a big problem, which is climate change” Silvey said. “It can be hard to tackle this big problem, but I think that the deal will drastically help.”

Opponents of the Green New Deal think that the 14-page plan is too radical.

“We’ve had time for moderate solutions for a long time, but the time has passed,” Clowe said.

Clowe said he hopes Sen. Blunt takes their letters seriously because time is of the essence.

“It’s not going to take too long for these effects going to be really catastrophic and it’s my generation and future generations that are going to feel the most pain,” Clowe said.

The Rock Bridge Young Democrats club meets weekly, and Silvey said they will continue staying politically active citizens in the future.