Hundreds of protesters gathered Friday for the climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Hundreds of protesters gathered Friday for the climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastside residents protest climate change

Organized by local high school students, a climate strike was held at Houghton Beach Park.

Hundreds of Eastside residents lined Lake Washington Boulevard with vibrant and oversized signs on the afternoon of Sept. 20. Onlookers and drivers shouted and honked in support while driving past Houghton Beach Park.

A group of four high school students organized Kirkland’s climate strike.

Jolie Simone Barga, a freshman at Lake Washington High School, and Amelia Hawkins, a junior at Eastside Preparatory School were the two main city organizers. Bellevue High School senior, Victoria Hsieh, and Eastlake High School junior, Layasri Ranjith, were also lead organizers.

While the four students attend different schools, they came together to raise awareness about climate change. Inspired by the announcement of the global climate strike, the students joined to create a climate strike on the Eastside.

Jolie Simone Barga, a freshman at Lake Washington High School, addresses the crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Jolie Simone Barga, a freshman at Lake Washington High School, addresses the crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

“Our main worries as high school students should not be about climate change,” Barga said. “We should be worried about school, grades, what we’re going to wear to homecoming…but now it’s about our future and if we even have one.”

Hawkins mirrored Barga’s sentiment.

“We live in a world divided,” she said. “But the one thing we absolutely must unite over is climate change. Everyone’s future is at stake and that’s why we’re striking today.”

Amelia Hawkins, a junior at Eastside Preparatory School, addresses the he crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Amelia Hawkins, a junior at Eastside Preparatory School, addresses the he crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

The students were striking for the following demands:

Enact major legislation to combat climate change on local and state levels in Washington.

Adopt practices to shift the country to 100 percent clean, renewable, and net-zero emission energy sources through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.

Declare the climate crisis a national emergency — because that’s what it is.

Eastlake High School junior, Layasri Ranjith, addresses the crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastlake High School junior, Layasri Ranjith, addresses the crowd at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

The students spent months planning and organizing the climate strike at Houghton Beach Park. Through the process of obtaining permits from the city, to spreading the word, the students said they were excited as waves of people walked into Houghton Beach Park.

Aside from speeches, the students brought art supplies for people to decorate signs and t-shirts, as well as paper and pens to write letters to local government officials.

“It’s amazing,” Barga said. “It’s what we hoped…what we expected. Climate change is a real crisis and it’s great to see people stand for our futures.”

Karen Richards and Matt Armstrong held a sign that says “We are all interconnected. Save everything” at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Karen Richards and Matt Armstrong held a sign that says “We are all interconnected. Save everything” at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastside residents flooded the park beginning at about 1 p.m. With handmade signs saying, “When the water gets warm you might as well swim — Smash Mouth,” “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?” “The water is rising and so are we,” “Denial is not a policy,” and “We are all interconnected. Save everything,” people gathered to protest against climate change.

Karen Richards and Matt Armstrong, both Kirkland residents, were among the hundreds of protesters.

“We need to save the planet,” Richards said. “This matters. It’s about the future of all of us.”

“We need to move in a direction that we can live on Earth in harmony,” Armstrong said.

A chalk message “Climate change is permanent. Why aren’t our promises?” Madison Miller/staff photo

A chalk message “Climate change is permanent. Why aren’t our promises?” Madison Miller/staff photo

Speeches from youth and adult activists kicked off the climate strike. Each student organizer addressed the crowd.

“At 25, I should be just starting my life with a whole future ahead of me,” Barga said. “But I, and the rest of us, won’t have a future if we do nothing about climate change.”

She said typically youth aren’t able to have their voices heard and that often leads to feelings of discouragement and frustration.

“We do belong here. This is our problem. This is our time to act,” she said.

A sign at the Kirkland climate strike at Houghton Beach Park Friday. “Our economic system is extractive, exploitative and unsustainable. We need change — Now.” Madison Miller/staff photo

A sign at the Kirkland climate strike at Houghton Beach Park Friday. “Our economic system is extractive, exploitative and unsustainable. We need change — Now.” Madison Miller/staff photo

After several speeches, there was an 11-minute silent protest for the 11 years scientists predict the world has left to reverse the worst effects of climate change.

Protesters returned to the sidewalks and held up signs and shouted cheers, “Stand up, fight back!” and “Stop burning fossil fuels.”

To learn more about global climate strikes, visit www.youthclimatestrikeus.org.

Amelia Hawkins leads the kids in painting a donated parachute at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

Amelia Hawkins leads the kids in painting a donated parachute at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

350 Eastside climate organizer, Sara Papanikolaou and her 8-year-old daughter, Tess Papanikolaou, protest at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo

350 Eastside climate organizer, Sara Papanikolaou and her 8-year-old daughter, Tess Papanikolaou, protest at Friday’s climate strike. Madison Miller/staff photo




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

A rendering of the entrance of the upcoming southeast Redmond Light Rail stop. Courtesy Photo/Sound Transit
Construction work increasing around Redmond light rail extension

Residents can expect upcoming tree removal, structure demolition, utility relocation along State Route 520

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

The closed Redmond Senior Center on Oct. 13. Community members leave ribbons in the heart to honor the memories of the to-be-demolished center. Haley Ausbun/staff photo.
Demolition of Redmond Senior Center underway this month

The city council has an upcoming vote on the size and cost of the future senior center

Hilary Franz (left) and Sue Kuehl Pederson
Wildfires, forest health are key issues in race to lead DNR

Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson is challenging incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.

A Sept. 10 satellite image shows smoke from U.S. wildfires blanketing the majority of the West Coast. (European Space Agency)
University of Washington professors talk climate change, U.S.-China relations

Downside for climate policy supporters is it can risk alienating moderate or right-leaning voters.

Sightseers at a Snoqualmie Falls viewpoint adjacent to the Salish Lodge & Spa on Feb. 19, 2020. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
25 COVID cases linked to Salish Lodge

Public Health is urging anyone who visited the lodge to monitor for symptoms or get tested.

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Investigators release update on Redmond officer shooting

More details of the shooting involving multiple officers and a 39-year-old woman has not yet been released

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.