First climate strike by Harrisburg youth group draws small crowd

  • Rachel McDevitt

(Harrisburg) — Young people across the country spent part of the day on strike at state capitol buildings and in major cities to call attention to the threat of climate change.

In Harrisburg, organizers didn’t get the turnout they were hoping for.

An hour into the first event by the Harrisburg chapter of U.S. Youth Climate Strike, only five students had gathered.

Organizer Kyle Miller, a senior at Susquehanna Township High School, said the goal was to show a united youth front.

“But it has to start somewhere and there’s been a lot of inconsistency in the past when it comes to Harrisburg,” Miller said. “So, I’m hoping for at least 60-70 but I’m going to be satisfied with whatever comes my way.”

A climate change demonstration in Harrisburg in September drew more than 100 people. Miller said his eventually drew between 20-30, which he called not bad for a first try.

Miller said it’s been challenging to organize young people in the area, adding it seems like many just don’t care.

Fellow organizer Romy Marszalek held a sign that read “honk for climate justice” and cheered every time a passing driver complied.

“I think it’s very important that [the effort is] youth-led because it shows how much we care and you see the future–who’s future–you’re ruining if you don’t do something about it soon,” the Cedar Cliff High School senior said.

Marszalek said she hopes to build on Friday’s strike and attract more participants through social media.

In Pennsylvania, youth climate strikes were also held in State College, Erie, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

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