“Alexandria Villasenor doesn’t remember a world without climate change. When she was eight, Folsom Lake, the reservoir practically in her backyard in Davis, dried up amidst California’s epic drought. She peered at the dead fish on its former shores and felt her anxiety about the future start to grow.
“The 13 year old has since moved to New York, but she was back visiting friends and family in Davis recently when the Camp Fire struck 90 miles to the north. Smoke wafted over Northern California, creating the most toxic air on the planet. Fearing for her health, Villasenor left. And in that moment, she knew she couldn’t idly accept a future of ever-worsening drought, fires, and weather whiplash turning her home state into a climate change-fueled wasteland.
“Villasenor can’t yet vote intransigent politicians out of office or run herself. But she found inspiration in Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old Swedish activist who began striking each Friday in the run up to Sweden’s September 2018 elections to protest inaction on climate change and who has inspired tens of thousands of youths across Europe to follow suit. Eight weeks ago, Villasenor started walking to the United Nations in her own Friday climate strike, a tradition that continued this Friday in the face of polar vortex-fueled cold. Now, she’s calling for a nationwide school strike on March 15 to talk about our future and send a message to adults to get their act together at this pivotal moment in history.
Like Thunberg, Villansenor speaks in blunt terms.
“If we’re not going to have a future, then school won’t matter any more,” Villasenor told Earther, explaining why she hopes students across the country will take to the streets.