LIVERMORE, CA — Sometimes the smallest voice has the biggest impact. As climate strikers demonstrated around the globe Friday en mass, 10-year-old Savannah Skinner picketed alone outside Livermore City Hall. There was no police presence, no street closures, no blockades, no anti-protesters. Just a little girl and her homemade sign: “School Strike For Climate: Your House Is On Fire!!! Act Now.”
With her mom watching nearby, Savannah stood her ground from noon to 1 p.m. at the busy city headquarters, holding her sign as cars drove past. It didn’t matter whether drivers honked in support or not, Savannah said she wasn’t nervous. She came bearing a message: “We are in a climate crisis and adults aren’t taking it seriously, and it’s my generation that will be taking the consequences,” she explained.
In fact, Friday’s solo-kid demonstration is readying the Jackson Avenue Elementary School student for future marches.
“I want to do this all the time!” she said.
Savannah’s activism was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who became internationally known last year when she began spending school days outside Swedish parliament with her own handmade sign that read (in Swedish): “School strike for climate.”
Greta has spurred on a grassroots youth movement called “Fridays For Future” that aims to change worldwide environmental policies to better protect the planet. Savannah plans to take part in future Friday strikes, and her mom, Deborah Fields, is onboard — hopeful that her daughter will be joined by peers.
Although some people are critical of kids leaving school to protest, Fields said she is encouraging her daughter’s activism and desire to shape her own world.
“I for one, will do what ever I can do to support my daughter in her pursuit of having a future she can look forward to,” Fields said. “Giving kids the opportunity to do something about their concerns goes a long way in helping them feel less anxious and more positive about their future. I hope that more of our youth show up for Fridays For Future at the City of Livermore.”
What does Savannah want to achieve by striking? “Well,” she said, “I hope that adults will get educated, stop using fossil fuels and reduce big company pollution.”
And one more thing, “Why be at school when there may be no future to prepare for?”