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Fairfax County Students Demand Climate Action During Vienna Strike

Dozens of students and adults joined a climate strike today in the Town of Vienna as part of an international effort.

Protesters, elected officials, local groups — including 350 Fairfax and Mothers Out Front Fairfax — and community members gathered outside at the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

“WAKE THE HELL UP,” said one sign with a drawing of the earth on fire.

“‘Once we begin to act, hope is everywhere’ – Greta Thunberg,” another sign said with the message of the Swedish environmental activist who has sparked climate change activism among young adults and kids.

The strike in Vienna was a part of a larger effort organized by the Sunrise Movement, along with the help of youth coalition groups, ahead of the UN’s annual climate conference.

The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist.

Katie told Tysons Reporter that she grew up in a family of climate activists. After becoming interested in climate change as a sophomore, she started planning strikes and events in D.C.

She said she decided to organize the strike in Vienna, because “D.C. already has a strong climate movement.”

Katie said that she was “really excited about the turnout” today and is hoping to plan another strike for Earth Day.

At the strike, protesters urged people to write a postcard to the Fairfax County School Board. The students and adult allies are pushing for a Green New Deal for FCPS that would switch all of the schools to net-zero carbon emissions by installing solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The plan would also continue the push for electric school buses in the county.

“I just want to make sure [my kids] have a liveable planet to live in,” Tiziana Bottino, a community organizer for Mothers Out Front, told Tysons Reporter about why she joined the strike.

While Bottino said that she’s impressed by the recent youth activism, she said the students shouldn’t have to be the ones calling for climate action.

“They should be worried prom,” Bottino said.

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