“We were all connected by the fact that we were marching beside one another and fighting for the same cause.”

A group of the Aquarium’s ClimaTeens participate in the Climate Strike in Boston.

By Isabella Ceresia, ClimaTeens Advisor

On September 20, 2019, I marched with thousands of youth demonstrating our support for the Boston Climate Strike in City Hall Plaza. I was truly amazed by all the speakers, such as Michelle Wu, Gina McCarthy, and the Rev. Mariama White Hammond, and the entire experience as a whole. It was such a powerful feeling to stand among a crowd with the majority of them being younger than 18 years old. 

Before the march started, 21 teens from different backgrounds met in the New England Aquarium’s Harborside Learning Lab. It was a combination of Aquarium teen interns, live blue™ Ambassadors, and other youth there to support the movement. We started off with a simple introduction that included saying our name and why we were excited to participate in the march. The majority of us had never participated in a strike before, making everyone even more eager to begin marching. 

ClimaTeens outside the Massachusetts State House
Some of the Aquarium's ClimaTeens gather outside the Massachusetts State House.

When we arrived, there were booths spread along the perimeter of the plaza with crowds of teens and adults alike in the middle, creating signs and drawing their own designs with chalk. I felt the need to pinch myself every once and awhile, just to convince myself that I was really at the march. After exploring all of the activities in the plaza and listening to the great speeches, everyone began the march to the State House. 

Once we were on the march, the chanting started and never stopped until we reached our destination. Random people would begin chanting and the surrounding people would respond. “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” This created a huge sense of camaraderie because even though no one personally knew each other, we were all connected by the fact that we were marching beside one another and fighting for the same cause. The chanting continued on, down the streets of Boston to the State House, and didn’t stop until the march was over. 

Boston Climate Strike 2019

Upon returning to the Aquarium, we started our debriefing. First, we started with a quick breather to recenter ourselves from the action-packed day. Then we participated in an activity to talk about the different points of the day, breaking it down to: highlights of the day, hopes for the future, and improvements. These topics were written on separate pieces of large paper around the room for the teens to write on. After about 10 minutes, we circled around each paper and discussed what we wrote down and why. We started off with the highlights of the day and all agreed that chanting in the streets and the State House were definitely at the top of the list. We also included the amazing guest speakers at City Hall Plaza, the overwhelming feeling of being a part of something much better than ourselves, and how this event allowed people to meet others with as much love for environment as we have. Then, for our hopes of the future, we talked about how we all want the Green New Deal to pass and want more youth involvement in legislation, especially pertaining to climate change. Finally, we discussed the things that could be improved for the next climate strike or event. We didn’t have any major notes for the organizers and focused more on what we can do to publicize the debrief we held after the march in order to get more youth back to the Aquarium to talk and organize.

Overall, it was immensely gratifying to be surrounded by teens from all across Massachusetts, and even other states, who were attending to show their support for stopping climate change. Although this was my first climate strike, it will probably not be the last; however, participating in this one demonstrates the strengths of my generation and their dedication to changing the laws in our government to improve our environment. 

Photos from the day

Read more about the ClimaTeens and the Climate Strike