On Earth Day, Pittsburgh's youth climate strike goes virtual | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On Earth Day, Pittsburgh's youth climate strike goes virtual

On Earth Day, Pittsburgh's youth climate strike goes virtual
CP Photo: Joie Knouse
Activists at a climate strike in September 2019.
Over the past year, youth-led climate strikes have spread to cities around the world, including here in Pittsburgh. Last September, hundreds of students walked out of school to march Downtown. A similar climate rally was planned for Earth Day on Wed., April 22, but the event had to adapt to this crowdless era, so the strike will now be held virtually.

For 24 hours, beginning at midnight on Earth Day, Fridays For Future PGH will host a virtual climate strike featuring youth climate activists, local politicians, and activists from other organizations. Student activists will interview guests including congressional candidate Jerry Dickinson, candidate for District 20 state representative Emily Kinkead, Elsa Mengistu of climate organization Zero Hour, and more.

There will be a musical performance by Snowdonia, vegan recipe tutorials, and a composting lesson. Throughout the livestream, Fridays for Future will be raising money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The full schedule of speakers and events is posted on the Fridays For Future PGH Instagram.

"We're trying to just have a day where people can learn more about local issues and more about the community that we have here," says Leandra Mira, an activist with Fridays for Future PGH. She says she wants people watching the climate strike livestream to "be educated, be aware, but not necessarily focused so much on the impending doom."

Most of the activists organizing the event are high school students who have suddenly had to adapt to a new life of online schooling, which is an added stress on top of everything else going on. It's hard to focus on climate change when there are so many other problems in the news, but unlike so many other aspects of the world right now, climate change is not grinding to a halt. It will continue to worsen whether people are able to gather in the streets or not.

Mira says that it's okay for people to step away from it all, and the fight will still be going on when they can come back.

"The thing I want people to be reminded of about climate change is that we're all in this together," says Mira. "Like even if you need to take a break from organizing, there's still people here who are keeping the space open, and whenever you're ready to return back to organizing, and back to advocating for change, we're here and we're not going anywhere."