Tysons, VA

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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In two weeks, Fairfax County public school students plan to demand action on climate change in Vienna as part of an international strike.

“This is not a hypothetical. This is not a partisan issue,” Deepa R., a climate activist and junior at James Madison High School, said in a press release. “This is real, this is now, and this is the way that we as a species will die if we don’t take action.”

The strike is set to take place on the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on  Friday (Dec. 6), the press release said.

Elected officials and local groups are expected to attend the strike, including School Board Member Ryan McElveen, 350 Fairfax and Mothers Out Front Fairfax, the press release said.

The strike in Vienna is a part of a larger effort organized by the Sunrise Movement, along with the help of youth coalition groups.

After the nationwide climate strike in September ahead of the UN Climate Change panel, this strike aims to encourage young activists to strike during the UN’s annual climate conference.

The student strike in Vienna is being organized by Katie M., a high school climate activist who was recently honored along with fellow student Wendy G. by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for pushing for climate change, according to the press release.

At the strike, the students and adult allies plan to call for a Green New Deal for Fairfax County Public Schools that works 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.

“The students also demand that the county require comprehensive climate education in schools,” the press release said.

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strike against the contractor of Metrobus could affect service by the Fairfax Connector.

The union that represents Fairfax Connector drivers indicated that a strike is possible amid an ongoing labor dispute with Transdev, the operations contractor of the Fairfax Connector service.

The county has recently warned that ongoing negotiations for a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 could result in service delays. 

Here’s more from the county:

The Fairfax Connector operations contractor, Transdev, is currently negotiating a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1764, which represents Fairfax Connector drivers and mechanics. Even though Fairfax County is not a party to any labor negotiations between Transdev and labor unions, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has encouraged negotiations in good faith with the goal of completing a new contract prior to the expiration of the current one on Nov. 30, 2019.  

FCDOT strives to provide effective communications and excellent customer service to our customers. We understand that you depend on us to take you where you need to go with reliable service. If the current negotiations are not successful and labor action occurs, FCDOT will communicate with passengers about service impacts and travel alternatives. 

The county offers updated about Fairfax Connector service online. Residents can also sign up for email service alerts through the county’s BusTracker.

This story was written by Fatimah Waseem 

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About 40 protesters joined a climate strike this morning in the City of Falls Church as part of a nationwide climate change strike ahead of the UN Climate Change panel.

Protesters gathered outside of Brown’s Hardware (100 W. Broad Street) around 8 a.m. today (Sept. 20) with signs demanding “Climate Action Now” and dogs.

“It’s very important to act locally to do good global things,” Councilmember Phil Duncan said. “It may seem small to start locally, but locally is where [the action’s] at.”

Shaun Dakin, the organizer of the local strike, told Tysons Reporter that he posted information about the strike earlier this week on the global climate strike’s website and on Facebook with the hopes that two or three people would show up.

“I’m totally surprised,” Dakin said about the turnout. “It shows the power of social media.”

Dakin, a Falls Church resident who is the social media director for Moms Clean Air Force, said that the strike is a way to show people that they get involved with activism locally.

“You don’t need to go to a big march with millions of people,” Dakin said,

The nationwide strikes were inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who Dakin said has sparked climate change activism among young adults and kids.

Dakin said that he wants people who care about climate change to head to the polls in the upcoming election and vote for politicians who will take action on climate change.

Babs Williams, a protester who brought her 14-year-old dog Katie in a stroller, said that she heard about the event from a friend.

“I feel like if you love your children and grandchildren, you should try to turn this toxic climate change mess around,” she said, adding that people need to vote for politicians who will protect the environment.

“Mine is not too radical a message,” Williams said. “It’s just common sense.”

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