ST. LOUIS, Mo. — April 15, 2012. Although their numbers were small members of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society took to the streets of St. Louis yesterday to express their alarm over inaction on global climate change.
The young demonstrators gathered at 11th and Market Street and displayed signs with messages like “There’s No Planet B,” “The Answer is Blowing in the Wind: Renewable Energy Now,” and “Climate Change Inaction, Global Catastrophe.” Most of the participants were members of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society. The organization is an activist student group at Crossroads College Preparatory School founded in November by junior Peter Thacher as a conduit to fight for change on global warming and the environment and also on gay rights, excessive military spending, and labor rights. The April 15 demonstration was the group’s first action.
“I just felt helpless about a lot of things our world and the lack of action being taken,” Thacher said on thefounding of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society. “Most of the kids here are in our group and
it’s great to see them.”
Approximately 21 people participated in the demonstration. Tia Rounsobille, 15, a student at Crossroads, was among those who participated.
“I wanted to support my friends, I got involved in this a month ago,” she said. “I think this is something that means a lot to a lot of people. Without our environment, we couldn’t live on this earth.”
Charlotte Sechriste, 14, a freshman at Crossroads, said she thought the demonstration was an exercise in consciousness raising.
“There’s a lot of people downtown and a lot of people will see our signs,” she said. “People might think about what we are saying.”
The young demonstrators marched from 11th and Market to the Arch Grounds holding their signs and chanting for action on climate change.
“What do we want?” they asked. “Climate change action now!”
Some motorists honked their horns in approval and a few bystanders heckled. The activists eventually arrived at the Arch Grounds and gathered to listen to a speech from People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society Member Justin Enoch, but Park Ranger Jay Brown notified the demonstrators that they couldn’t hold a demonstration without a permit. The young activists quietly turned around and left the park.
Enoch said the speech he intended to give was about acting on deeply held beliefs.
“We know this (climate change) is very real and apparent,” Enoch said. “We heard some hecklers on the way down here. But there is so many things that we can do and that are being done”
Enoch said he was impressed with Fed Ex Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith switching the company’s fleet to biofuels and electricity and he also said the fight against climate change was about transitioning to non-petroleum based fuels.