Watertown Teens Take to Streets on Earth Day to Call Attention to Climate Change

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Sunrise Watertown

Sunrise Watertown marched on the streets of Watertown on Earth Day to bring attention to climate change.

The following piece was provided by Sunrise Watertown:

Fifteen months ago, Sunrise Watertown convened with the intention of hosting a 2020 Earth Day event for the community. Little did we, or anyone, expect, our plans would come to a screaming halt at the hands of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we reworked our ideas by hosting a virtual Earth Day event; We invited community members to make signs to post pictures with, sign our petition to enact a Massachusetts Green New Deal, and watch some of the videos we had created through Zoom.

Since then, we have gone on to meet with Massachusetts Senators, town councillors, and a whole host of other people willing to help us fight for a livable future. We even had the privilege of hosting an in-person action last October in preparation for the US presidential election and the election for our Massachusetts senator. This year we were finally able to organize an Earth Day action and are hoping to make this a tradition that Watertown can follow for many years to come.

Sunrise Watertown

Members of Sunrise Watertown speak at rally on the steps of Watertown Town Hall.

Thursday’s Earth Day event, attended by over 50 community members, had one central goal: Call upon the town councillors to buckle down and enact stricter climate change mitigation methods. As we walked through the town we chanted and sang with enthusiasm, much of which was returned to us as honks from passing vehicles. At Town Hall, we paused to read a few speeches written by our own members. They talked largely about how our town would change if we continued to ignore the climate crisis.

“It’s clear what the Town Council is doing and has been doing is not enough. It’s clear they don’t prioritize this crisis like the emergency it is and are not listening to the youth in this town. Those things have been made very clear to us throughout the past few months,” Sunrise Watertown hub coordinator Leyla writes.

Sunrise Watertown

Members of Sunrise Watertown called on local and state elected officials to take action against climate change on Earth Day 2021.

Prior to this action, Sunrise Watertown put forth a resolution to the Town Council demanding that they declare a climate emergency. Declaring a climate emergency would clearly and unequivocally establish that there is a crisis facing our community and that we need to act quickly to prevent it. However, at the meeting to pass this resolution, many of the town councilors refused to acknowledge the resolution for what it was and instead chose to nitpick and misconstrue its ideas. Sunrise Watertown felt that we had to let the town know that these councilors weren’t taking our homes, our safety, and our futures very seriously. At Town Hall on Thursday, we also read an op-ed about the lack of action coming from the councilors.“The build up to this action has been so exciting and I am glad to have been a part of it.

“There is something so empowering about marching down the streets of our town with a group of activists who want to create a livable future,” recounts Zoe, the Communications Lead.

“As young people, what we want to see is radical climate measures taken, including comprehensive climate education in schools, policies centered on resilient development, and green jobs that mirror what a Watertown green new deal might look like,” adds Leyla.

As many of the leaders of Sunrise Watertown are graduating this May, they’re handing this important work over to a select few upperclassmen that have shown excellent leadership and incredible initiative this past year. These new leaders will continue the fight to create a safe and livable future for Watertown. May they have much luck in their endeavors.

7 thoughts on “Watertown Teens Take to Streets on Earth Day to Call Attention to Climate Change

  1. This isn’t news.

    Just once I’d like to see someone from these groups volunteer in the community. This isn’t volunteering by the way. Do something/anything material to benefit our community.

    People have had enough of your “demands”.

    “The following piece was provided by Sunrise Watertown:….At Town Hall, we paused to read a few speeches written by our own members.”

    Delete.

    • Exactly! We will never hear from any of these kids once they put their “efforts” on their college applications. They are all talk no action. They don’t want to get their hands dirty helping the homeless, volunteering at the Boys & Girl’s Club or actually cleaning up along the river and parks. Please stop giving these groups attention. They do nothing for our community but complain and divide,

      • Hello Stacy!

        I’m deeply sorry that you did not like this piece.

        I would like to say that I am actually the guest writer of this piece, and I am not a student at Watertown High currently, although I graduated in 2020. I have since been accepted into two colleges but have declined both offers, as I feel that fighting for the future of my community and of the world is much more important and pressing at the current moment.

        As per my previous comment, Sunrise Watertown has partnered with the Boys and Girls club to organize projects for younger students, as well as partnered with the Unity Breakfast to help organize this past years event.

        Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we have been severely halted in our efforts to help the community as much as we would like to. Some of our own members have recently planted trees and picked up trash along the river. However, we do not publish these events because we feel they are expected of us in our duty to combat the climate crisis.

        If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to watertownsunrise@gmil.com.

        Have a lovely evening!

    • Hello JL!

      I’m sorry to see that you didn’t like this piece.

      Most of the members of this group are students, therefore they aren’t able to vote for who will sit on the town council. They have little choice but to meet with these councilors and talk earnestly with them about their valid concerns about their own futures.

      As well, Sunrise Watertown recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to do a project for younger students. And in January they participated and helped with the annual Unity Breakfast which Watertown hosts to honor the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.

      I was confused by your last statement though: ” “The following piece was provided by Sunrise Watertown:….At Town Hall, we paused to read a few speeches written by our own members.” Delete.”

      What else should they be reading? Scientific reports that reiterate that climate change is an ongoing crisis? Literature by others who have never lived in Watertown, and therefore do not share the same love and care for it? If you have any ideas about what they should have been doing, please feel free to contact them at watertownsunrise@gmail.com. I’m sure they would love to hear your ideas.

      Thank you!

    • Guess what? I have had enough of those who thoughtlessly make mean spirited comments about good young people who care about our planet and our world.

      It’s so easy to sit at your keyboard and snark away at people you don’t know and who you have never made an effort to meet, especially when you don’t sign your name to your comments.

      Young people who are active, committed and caring bode well for our town and our country. Bless them!

  2. Well I don’t know the specific people of this group but I certainly wouldn’t call what they are doing just talk given they are doing action. Are these students not doing other things you both deem more a priority than what they believe is a priority in our world? They may have cleaned up the river or help out in other ways? Why is their protests and calls for action not a good for Our society? I certainly have cleaned up the river and volunteer for many things in this town but would not criticize someone for speaking out for something they believe in by stating they should be doing something else !? If you just have a problem with what they are speaking out against then please just make your case for your side of the discussion but complaining that the kids are just not doing what you deem acceptable good for the community sounds shallow.

  3. Has this group even looked into the existing efforts that the town has done already? What other community in the state will have two net 0 school built in the next few years? Which towns are requiring large construction projects to have solar power? It seems like they’re demanding things without knowing what is already being done. It would be nice to see this group cleaning up trash around Sawins Pond and the bike path and really making a difference rather than shouting out a bullhorn in front of town hall.

    “Prior to this action, Sunrise Watertown put forth a resolution to the Town Council demanding that they declare a climate emergency.” – you’ll find you get more by not making demands Words like “demand” have a way of making people see this in a negative light. You complain about the town council not doing anything when the demand for a climate emergency declaration didn’t follow the procedures for submitting such a resolution through the proper subcommittees and going through the process of aligning with existing protocols already in place. Learn about the process about how the town council works and please stop making demands for the rest of us in town.

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