As climate strikes take place all over the world Friday, Vermonters have joined in to make their voices heard in demanding action.

“The climate crisis is the existential issue of our time,” said Duane Peterson, Co-Founder of Suncommon, Vermont’s largest provider of solar energy. “It’s not something we can kick down the road to our kids. It’s affecting us right here, right now.”

It was difficult to make your way through downtown Burlington Friday afternoon as a few thousand Vermonters filled the streets, raising signs and their voices on climate change.  

Outside of City Hall, student activists, local leaders, and citizens each took their turn at the mic, speaking to the crowds on the importance of taking action to protest the Earth, especially for future generations.

“Our future is not guaranteed, that’s why we need to step up and lead,” one of the student speakers told the crowd.

Many taking part in the climate strike are Vermont students who decided to strike for action, instead of attending their classes.  

“Yeah, we walked out,” said Matt Voss, a junior at UVM. “There were a couple of professors who wanted to come too so they cancelled classes, but a lot of the students here today were like ‘I’m not going to remember this in a couple of years, but I will remember seeing this strike and feeling like I’m part of the action.”

Activists are calling for an immediate action, like imposing a Green New Deal. This comes ahead of the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday. They hope standing in solidarity with one another will open lawmakers’ eyes to do something.

“So many people around here care,” said UVM sophomore Sarah Sciortino. “It’s crazy how no action is being taken despite the fact that the public wants there to be.”

The strike in Burlington was just one of more than 1,000 around the country, and 4,500 worldwide.