Local students strike for climate justice

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- More than 100 students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County left school and gathered on the Downtown Mall on Friday afternoon to stand up against climate change.

Students, including Ezra Laiacona, chanted and held signs in front of the Free Speech Wall, asking politicians to pay closer attention to problems facing the climate.

"I came out here because I know that I want a future," said Laiacona, a fifth-grader at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School.

Gudrun Campbell, a sixth-grader at Walker Upper Elementary School and one of the organizers of the strike, said the group is fighting for local issues.

One of the issues they're focusing on is stopping the construction of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

However, Campbell said they're also requesting changes across the country.

"At a national level, we're fighting to pass the Green New Deal and switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030," said Campbell.

The students marched around the Downtown Mall during the middle of their rally, but the Charlottesville protest was not the only one.

Students around the world left their classrooms to protest for climate justice, a movement Campbell hopes will spark change.

"It's really just important that people all over the world know what a problem this is," she said. "I fight so I have a future."

Climate change has been a hot topic for city and county leaders during their recent meetings.

Albemarle County will hold an open house to kick off Phase 1 of the county's climate action planning process on March 18 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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