Hundreds of students from across southern Maine left school early Friday afternoon and called for action on climate change on the steps of Portland's City Hall.
The strike in Portland was attended by elementary to college-aged students, and was one of more than 100 events planned across the country on Friday. With signs and chants, the students called for curbing carbon emissions, particularly in the face of recent national reports showing severe consequences if action isn't taken.
MJ Kabongo, a senior at Portland's Waynflete School, says she hopes the rally will help policy makers see how important the issue is to her generation.
“I feel like this march, and this whole strike, is going to be helping to bring some more awareness to that,” says Kabongo. “And maybe actually get people to start doing things.”
Phoebe MacDonald, a third grader at Portland's Ocean Avenue Elementary Schools, also says that she hopes leaders will hear the message of the students at the rally.
"With this money young people and kids here, we'll actually catch some of the important peoples' attention," MacDonald says.
Similar rallies were planned in Brunswick, Lewiston and Bar Harbor. Organizers are planning another event late next month in Augusta, where they're hoping to meet and talk to state lawmakers about the issue.