South Strand students, adults join Fridays for Future global climate movement

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PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) – A group on the South Strand is joining a global movement, calling on world leaders to address the threats from climate change.

Hundreds of thousands of climate protesters are demonstrating in Madrid, Spain, where world leaders are meeting for the United Nations’ 25th annual climate change conference, which is known as COP25. They’re establishing carbon emissions rules proposed in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The U.S. is the only country that has withdrawn from the agreement.

Greta Thunberg, who’s the Swedish teen activist who confronted leaders about climate change earlier this year, was in the Spanish capital Friday.

“We are stepping out of our comfort zones, telling the people in power that they must take the responsibility and protect future and present generations,” Thunberg said.

Thunberg started Fridays for Future, which are weekly student protests for her cause. The movement has spread around the world, including the Grand Strand.

Bella Paris organized Friday’s protest and a similar one outside the Pawleys Island town hall earlier this year.

“I think it’s really important because we are the next generation,” said Paris, who’s a junior at Lowcountry Preparatory School. “I think it’s important that there are students that are speaking up.”

A smaller group of students and some adults brought the global demonstration to Litchfield Beach. The group called “Fridays for Future South Strand” held signs along U.S. Highway 17 on Friday.

The students say while climate change will have different impacts globally, the Grand Strand faces plastic pollution, negative effects of offshore drilling and flooding.

“If you live in a coastal town, you don’t want to be worried that there’s going to be a crazy flood and then, the whole town is just going to be under water,” Paris said.

While heavy rain shortened Friday’s demonstration, the group says it’ll keep fighting for change in its coastal, home communities.

“Plastic pollution is the second-most serious issue facing our planet,” said Goffinet McLaren, a Pawleys resident who joined the students in the protest. “It’s another existential issue and something has to be done about it.”

COP25 continues in Madrid until Dec. 13.

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