September’s Climate Activism Training is Changing Climate Advocacy

Maryam Luqman (she/her), Staff Writer

Climate activism is a growing topic that has gained the attention of young people. In Portland, the youth have found new ways to spread awareness and educate people about it.


On Sept. 23, young climate activists around the world took place in the global climate strike, planned by Fridays For Future. However, for PPS students it was different—because it was not a school day, having a strike would be pointless. Instead, different organizations in Portland collaborated together to make a mass climate activist training. 


The event was hosted by Portland Youth Climate Strike, an organization of young people dedicated to the intersectional fight for climate justice. “We wanted to do something in collaboration with the global climate strike,” said Avi Horowitz, a sophomore at Ida B. Wells High School and a member of Portland Youth Climate Strike. “We didn’t really have time to plan a climate strike and also it wouldn’t have been that much of a strike since school was closed.”


Adah Crandall @portlandclimatestrike


Organizations including 350PDX, Sunrise Movement PDX and Extinction Rebellion Portland collaborated with PYCS to have their own training sessions for the youth. There were three sessions in total, each having four different workshops teaching students about activism in the climate justice movement.


Students from PPS Schools such as Grant, Lincoln and Ida B. Wells, gathered at the new Lincoln High School building. A number of students from non-PPS communities skipped school to attend.


Shaelyn Gallagher, a sophomore at Ida B. Wells, attended the training. “I am very passionate about climate change and think it’s a serious issue, and I wanted to take my activism to the next step,” said Gallagher. Students at the training shared similar views.


Gallagher attended all three sessions, her favorite being the second, where she went to the “Finding Your Place in The Climate Movement” workshop, led by 350PDX. “It was very helpful and I got to really connect with others who shared the same interest in this strong movement,” she said. “I left with knowing more about myself and how to help.”


During the last session, Gallagher attended the “How We’ve Won: Climate Success Stories” led by Breach Collective. “I got to sit and listen about wins that we have had locally in Oregon overall and how it not only affects us, but other states,” said Gallagher. “We are in a climate crisis and sometimes in the fight we lose sight of the wins and accomplishments we have had so it was really nice to look back onto the positive.”


Adah Crandall @portlandclimatestrike


Throughout the whole training, a popular workshop was the Climate Art for Climate Action. Students experienced a more hands-on and artistic approach toward climate activism by making colorful prints. “It was really great for people to like, have something physical to get out of it,” said Jacob Glass, a senior at Ida B. Wells. Glass is a co-lead for Portland Youth Climate Strike and enjoyed seeing the fun students had. The workshops each taught something different, but they all were inspiring and fun for the youth that attended.


Although the want for a strike is still strong in the climate movement, trainings are likely to continue, as they are a big help in our community. “We definitely want to do more strikes this year and I think there is still some need for even more training and more education in the climate movement,” Glass said, “so it’s definitely possible we’ll do another training or something that’s not a strike but still some type of climate justice event.”


In our community, we often look past teaching activism. This training organized youth and encouraged them to use their new knowledge of activism to empower themselves in the climate justice movement.