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Striking For The Climate Across Nevada

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, center, marches with other young climate activists for a climate strike outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.

Organizers around the world are planning a day of action to call attention to climate change on Friday, September 20.

In Nevada, a combination of schools and climate action groups are planning demonstrations and public events from Las Vegas to Reno.

"I hope that we're going to make our voices heard," said Palo Verde High School student Dexter Lim, "As members of the youth, we are going to have to be the ones who inherit this planet and we've seen time and time again that the signs of climate change are becoming more and more clear."

Lim said he hopes the action on Friday shows political leaders that action needs to be taken immediately to address climate change.

Students at seven schools in Southern Nevada are taking part in a walkout. The students plan to leave class between 10 and 11 a.m. Friday.

Lim said his group tried to reach out to the Clark County School District about allowing students to participate without getting an unexcused absence on their record but the district never responded.

Daniela Trajtman is also participating in the strike. She's a middle schooler from Las Vegas. Trajtman said she hopes the action sends a strong message to lawmakers.

"I hope they realize that this is an issue that is really going to affect us and its an issue that a lot of people are passionate about and it sends a message to them that if they don't do something to combat this issue they probably won't be elected," she said. 

After the student walkout, groups will gather in front of the Venetian hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Lim said the Venetian was chosen because unlike other Strip properties that have adopted sustainability plans and embraced solar power; "However, the Venetian has been rather recalcitrant to these demands."

These students and others around the globe have been inspired in large part by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. 

Thunberg has been holding weekly protests outside of Sweden’s parliament to advocate for governmental action on climate change. Her movement, called  Fridays for Future, is specifically oriented around the concerns of a younger generation whose lives will be directly impacted by catastrophic drought, heatwaves, rising sea levels and worldwide instability if climate change goes unaddressed.

It is not just middle school and high school students who will be taking part in Friday's action.

Stallar Lufrano-Jardine is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno and she organized the protest on that campus Friday. She said the protest will be in front of the university's library from 9 a.m. to noon and it will include groups looking to network with students and get them involved in truly making a difference.

"It won't be meaningful if we complain about where we're at now without thinking about how we can move forward," she said.

Lufrano-Jardine said the rally will be a chance for like-minded students to gain some solidarity and she believes the  Global Climate Strike, in general, will send a strong message to leaders around the world. 

"The media is zoomed in to what we're doing on Friday," she said, "The news outlets are queued up for this huge event with, I believe, the last number was 3,500 strikes in 150 countries."

Lufrano-Jardine said beyond just the one-day strike activists need to follow up and make sure the progress they're asking for is being accomplished.

In recent years, people have put more pressure on public officials to confront the risk climate change poses by reducing carbon emissions, improving infrastructure so that it’s more resilient to extreme weather and addressing the disproportionate effects it can have on working-class and minority communities.

(Editor's note: This story originally aired September 2019)

Daniela Trajtman, student and volunteer, Sunrise Movement; Dexter Lim, student and volunteer, Sunrise Movement;  Stallar Lufrano-Jardine, student and organizer, Climate Strike

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Bert is a reporter and producer based in Reno, where he covers the state legislature and stories that resonate across Nevada. He began his career in journalism after studying abroad during the summer of 2011 in Egypt, during the Arab Spring. Before he joined Nevada Public Radio and Capital Public Radio, Bert was a contributor at KQED and the Sacramento News & Review. He was also a photographer, video editor and digital producer at the East Bay Express.