As the earth heats up and climate change continues to drastically affect the environment, the young generation is rising up to fight for its future. Durango High School students are joining this fight with a week of climate action events put on by the newly founded DHS club called the Green Team.
Climate Action Week kicked off Monday when members of the team volunteered their time to register their classmates to vote. On Tuesday, the team partnered with another student-run organization, Durango Climate Action, to clean up trash around Durango.
On Wednesday, the team will host a town hall where students will get to engage with local policymakers regarding their work for a climate-friendly future. The week will end on Friday with a walk-out during the last period to protest the failure of government and society to address escalating climate threats. The walk-out will be organized completely by students and is not affiliated with any club or with the school.
Nina Quayle, a DHS junior and a member of the Green Team, is proud of the work the group has done.
“I wanted to be a part of this club because I think climate action, especially in younger generations, is super important, and it’s up to us to decide what our future is going to look like,” she said. “I am really excited for the walk-out on Friday. I hope it has a big turnout of students, and I think it will be awesome to see all of us out there fighting for our future.”
The main objectives of the team are to add climate change-focused curriculum to Durango School District 9-R education, help the city enact a plastic bag ban, and advocate for the city and state to go carbon neutral by 2035. The team wants to see the Green New Deal passed in the Colorado Legislature.
Hays Stritikus, a DHS junior, said the team has a lot of potential.
“The Green Team aims to increase student involvement in environmental policymaking but we recognize there is no silver bullet,” he said. “There are, however, possible great steps forward.”
The team is still in the first stages of its creation but members hope to come back stronger next school year and with even more student involvement. Climate Action Week is the first event the team has put on and it will serve as a jumping off point for future action.
Though completely student created and run, the team’s sponsor is DHS Spanish teacher Brett Wilson.
“As the sponsor of the Green Team, I view myself as somebody that mostly gets out of the way and lets the Green Team do all the wonderful work they’re already doing,” he said. “I hope to provide some thoughtful ideas that might allow a modification to a direction or a modification to an idea, but ultimately, I hope a lot of the things that happen in there are student generated, student supported and student run.”
The Green Team agrees that students must provide the initiative and the energy.
“We have the resources and the money to end climate change,” Stritikus said. “So now it’s a question of whether or not we are willing to take a stand to protect our future.”
The response to this question is a resounding “yes” from Quayle.
“We are ready to take on this crisis and protect our Durango environment that we all get to play in every day. It’s time we stand up for our home,” she said.
Abby Bowman is an intern for The Durango Herald. She attends Durango High School.