With her 12-year-old daughter by her side, Darlene Jentzsch spent part of her Friday afternoon in awe of the youth-led movement taking place on the steps of the Idaho Capitol.
Jentzch was one of hundreds who showed up to the Boise Climate Strike on Friday, part of a larger worldwide movement led mainly by teenagers. Students of all ages left school to participate in the event, and the adults who either left work or came in their free time were impressed.
“It’s amazing. And I wish they were our leaders faster,” Jentzsch said. “There was a sign I saw the other day that said, ‘We have our leaders right now that are acting like children, and children that are acting like leaders.’ And that couldn’t be more truthful.”
The worldwide demonstrations were centered around concerns of inactivity by politicians to address climate change and its fallout. The past five years have been the hottest on record, and this year is expected to add to that trend.
An estimated 60,000 people gathered in New York City on Friday as part of the protests, while 100,000 rallied in both Melbourne, Australia, and Berlin, Germany, per The New York Times.
At Boise’s rally, hundreds lined the stairs of the Capitol. They held signs that read, “Stop denying, the earth is dying,” and, “We are skipping our lessons to teach you one.”
Jenefar Paul is a Mountain View High student who celebrated her 18th birthday Friday. Paul, originally from Uganda, said it is often the people of poor countries who get the worst end of global climate problems.
“I’m here for my generation who are going to be affected by the climate crisis. Our senators aren’t paying attention,” she said. “It’s insane to actually be a part of something so amazing and be a part of a generation that is trying to make so much change. This is our future, and you need to listen. Because we’re going to make you listen.”
Boise State student Adam Thompson believes that, if left unchecked, the climate crisis could end up being an extinction-level event. And to know that he and his peers who rallied in Boise on Friday were part of a global rally that drew millions truly meant something.
“If we don’t fix climate change, humans will die,” Thompson said. “We know that there’s people all around the world … that are going to be affected, that are out on the streets ... We’re striking because we care about Idaho, we care about the natural landscapes we all love so much. But we also care about the rest of the world. We care about others.”
Jentzsch said she felt a similar camaraderie in Boise.
“People are working so hard to divide us and to put us against each other,” she said. “We’re in this together, and there’s a lot of us that aren’t falling for it.”