'We all have a voice': OU students participate in climate strike protest

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Climate strike (copy)

The crowd marches up the South Oval during the climate strike Sept. 27.

An OU student led a climate strike Sept. 27 on the South Oval. 

The protest was led by psychology and creative media production freshman Natalia Fabry, who said she decided to organize the strike because she believes people have the power to stop the effects of climate change. 

“We are the generation that’s going to change how the world ends,” Fabry said.

Fabry began the protest with a brief speech in which she reiterated that climate change is an important issue, before passing the microphone to other speakers. 

The first speaker was Nayifa Nihad, an OU student from the Maldives. 

“For many of us, climate change is something that will happen in the near future,” Nihad said. “Some of us are facing it right now.” 

Nihad went on to detail the effects of climate change in her country, citing rising sea levels and other issues. She said she was already beginning to lose her home country and her culture. 

OU student Jack MacKay then spoke about the politics of climate change. 

“The Green New Deal is the bare minimum that we and our children need to survive,” MacKay said.

OU freshman Pepper Purpura gave a speech holding a sign that read, “LOVE YOUR MOTHER,” with a drawing of the earth. 

“People don’t believe it because they don’t understand it,” Purpura said.

Lauren Alfaro, an international student from Costa Rica, spoke next. Holding a sign that urged people to adopt a vegan diet, she said people should “keep our leaders accountable.”

Once the speakers finished, the protest group of around 50 people marched through campus. The activists chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, climate change has got to go!” and “Climate change is not a lie! Do not let our planet die!” 

The group marched from the South Oval, to the front of Campus Corner, to the towers, finishing in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library.

Broadcast journalism senior Alex Baron said growing up without a lot of money meant his concerns were more about day-to-day issues, but after entering college he has been able to participate more in activism. Baron said Fabry inspired him to come out to the strike. 

“It was inspiring to see a freshman come in and make more of an impact than some people will make in four years,” Baron said. “We all have a voice and the power to determine how our future is going to go.”

OU student Noah Fryer said he was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

“Even at OU, when we’re in a place that climate change isn’t as accepted, we’re still visible and making our presence heard,” Fryer said.

Alejandra Acuna, an OU student from Paraguay, carried a sign that read, “OUR CLIMATE ACTIVISM MUST BE INTERSECTIONAL.” Acuna said it is important to listen to activists from diverse backgrounds, namely “indigenous activists, black people and queer people.”

The strike ended around 6:15 p.m., and Fabry thanked everyone for attending.

For anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact, Fabry said there are some simple solutions. 

“Get a metal straw. It’s only about $2 or $3. It’s very practical because you can wash it, bring it anywhere, and you’re reducing so much plastic,” Fabry said. “Imagine daily, if you get three drinks, that’s three straws when you can use just one — and so that’s pretty impactful.”

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