We Skipped Our Lessons to Teach You One

Kathryn Vanden Hoek (senior) hand stitched her climate awareness top

In the last 23 years, Antartica has lost 127 billion tons of ice per year. That amount has tripled in the last decade. That is 3,810 billion tons of ice to date. Our Earth is suffering in tremendous ways due to climate change and a rise in greenhouse gases and emissions. 

Students from all schools march down Market Street

Many activists from ages 5 to 80 used their voices on September 20th, 2019, at Climate Change Marches around the world. St. Louis’s own was held in front of City Hall on Market Street and was attended by people of all races, religions, ages, and genders. Many Brentwood students went to voice their concern for the massive issue ahead of us. 


At the march, several speakers presented, each contributing to why climate change is such a significant concern. There are so many ways that the everyday person can help, even if it’s as simple as thinking about your food and where it comes from. 


Yes, the food industry is a major component of the global climate crisis. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment discussed the importance of ethical eating and sustenance. If you stop to consider the amount of plastic used in food packaging, shipping, and production, the numbers are menacing. The addition of the astronomical quantity of food waste contributing to greenhouse gases serves up the ultimate negative impact, too. Nearly half of greenhouse gases-a whopping 42%-come from animals and food agriculture. Everyone needs to eat, and by making personal changes, the climate can be greatly influenced. Rejecting industrial agriculture and supporting local farms are the first places to start. By purchasing goods with the Rainforest Alliance label, the average person can also contribute to advancements. Local organizations such as Known & Grown STL provide further information on how to find these friendly goods. 


Bob Pashos presents highlights on the benefits of solar power

Speaker Bob Pashos, the Solar Support Specialist from Straight Up Solar, presented the importance of solar power and precisely what it can do to decrease coal use and emissions. Pashos discussed the need to educate others to build a culture that is involved in “changing the paradigm.” Solar power provides clean, renewable energy and its utilization in large companies, schools, and farms will impact the environment in a myriad of ways. Illinois is the best state to go solar in, and they are making enormous strides towards legislation that supports the environment. If our neighbors across the river can succeed, then why can’t Missouri? Challenging us to do so, Pashos explained how St. Louis holds the current record for the fastest sign-ups in the Grow Solar program. We are making great progress towards solar, but the battle will continue to be fought for continued improvement. 


Speaker Cori Bush explains how climate change is hurting families in all cities

Further discussion from politician Cori Bush showcased how the hotter the Earth gets, the more families are directly suffering. The everyday household needs to pay for higher electric bills which only feeds the climate issue. Furthermore, worsened weather due to climate change takes away our access to necessities and costs us more as well. Children in African American communities are additionally suffering from the health impacts of lead and asthma due to factories and harmful emissions in those areas. Bush states how “climate directly and disproportionately affects communities” and now is the time to love one another, stand together, and fight for climate justice. 

Brentwood students gather together to use their voices

 “We got the power! We want justice!” filled the streets as the masses chanted about how climate awareness is not enough; steps need to be taken. Not only is St. Louis committed to 100% clean energy by 2035, but Amazon has listened to the nation’s pleas as well and will turn to 100% clean energy by 2030. Earth supporters from all around began the march toward the Peabody Energy headquarters, chanting “Hey, ho, Peabody has got to go!” 


Our Brentwood High activists contributed to the movement by beginning chants of their own. Signs were scattered among the group, each drawing attention to the massive problem at hand. Whether “Later is too late” or “We must rise before the tide,” signs spoke to all. People even carried posters referencing the Jonas Brothers and their throwback tune “Year 3000” where they live in the future, but underwater. Posters connecting all generations spoke of the urgency to change. Young teenagers from all around stood together in support of something much greater than us. Going solar, improving the food industry, and calling for justice are all ways to help the planet. By listening and using our voices in marches and social platforms, we can be the key to truly saving our only home.