Hundreds protest in Global Climate Strike, demand that U.S. declare a climate emergency

Environmental activists chant outside First American Bank during the Global Climate Strike in the Loop on Friday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Hundreds marched around the Loop for a Global Climate Strike protest Friday afternoon to demand climate action and call on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

“Things need to change. We need to fight for a more sustainable and equitable future,” said Ellen Trost-Rekich, 19, a student at Harper College in Palatine who took the train to Chicago to attend the protest.

“I’m really concerned for future generations. … We need to protect our world,” she added.

Led by Fridays For Future, hundreds of environmental activists took to the streets to urge President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and call for investment in clean energy, sustainable transportation, resilient infrastructure, quality healthcare, clean air, safe water and nutritious food, according to youth speakers.

“The planet, the people, always over profit!” the protesters chanted, starting at Pritzker Park, 310 S. State St., then marching to Chase Tower at 10 S. Dearborn St., and finishing with a rally in Federal Plaza at South Dearborn and West Adams streets.

In November 2023, the Fifth National Climate Assessment said the “effects of human-caused climate change are already far-reaching and worsening across every region of the United States.” The report found that all areas of the country are directly or indirectly at risk for heat waves, heavy rains, drought, hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

Mahima Krishnan, 15, a student at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, said the protest was intended to “make the right people listen.” She and others called on the Biden administration to declare a climate emergency.

“We are here today to fight for our futures and our present,” she said. “The ongoing climate crisis threatens our future with terrifying outcomes. … A failing economy, poor quality of living, natural disasters and much, much worse.”

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