Earth Day Climate Protest Goes Digital

Apr 21, 2020

Young people chanted loudly on the Statehouse steps demanding climate justice in March last year. This year, because of social distancing guidance, activists will be unable to gather in groups.
Credit Rebecca Thiele / IPB News

A statewide climate strike is going digital this Earth Day. Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in the U.S. Organizers of the event want Hoosiers to remember the global climate crisis isn’t stopping for the pandemic. 

Among other things, the Indiana Climate Coalition encourages Hoosiers to post protest signs on social media and contact their state representatives this Earth Day.

Co-organizer and Carmel High School student Ethan Stoehr says the climate crisis has likely taken a back seat in people’s minds because of the pandemic, but he says people can’t forget that we are in two global crises right now.

“One doesn't stop for the other, unfortunately. So I think it's really important for people to remember that this is still here, it's still happening, and we still need to deal with it," Stoehr says.

Co-organizer Claire Kaneshiro is a high school student at the International School of Indiana in Indianapolis. She says because people don’t have to take off work or school to participate, they could see a more cohesive effort across the state — even though there may be less camaraderie than what you would see at a physical strike.

“So there is a trade off but the situation being what it is, we're just using the time in the best way that we can,” Kaneshiro says.

The Indiana Climate Coalition wants the state to develop a climate action plan, have 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, a scientifically accurate climate curriculum in schools, and environmental justice and accessible public transit for all Hoosiers.

Kaneshiro says Indiana Climate Coalition will try to keep track of how many people participate in the strike through registrations and hashtags like #IndianaClimateStrike and #HeartlandOnFire.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.