Climate activists demand action during protests in Millennium Park

Peter Midwa and Valentina Pucarelli

By Bianca Kreusel, Photojournalist

Millennium Park is usually filled with tourists gathered to take pictures of their reflection in Cloud Gate. But last Friday, Adrian Ostrow had other plans.

Ostrow led a group of protesters, consisting of about 30 students from the Chicago Chapter of Fridays for Future — a local, youth-led nonprofit organization and part of the international Fridays for Future movement started by Greta Thunberg, in which students skip school on Fridays to demand “urgent action” on the global climate crisis.

Ostrow organized the climate strike in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., in conjunction with other chapters congregating around the world.

“Climate activists are organizing strikes around the world, fighting for the same thing: to stop the climate crisis,” Ostrow said. “This event is important because the climate crisis is already here in Chicago in so many different ways. … If we don’t stop the future of the climate crisis … then everything will go to hell, basically.”

Columbia sophomores Branden Smith and Gerson Matias-Ryan also attended the strike.

“Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve constantly been exposed through documentaries, through books, through other protests I’ve attended … about all the dangers of climate change and the threats to all mankind,” Matias-Ryan said. “It’s really frustrating to be constantly talking about it, but those in charge, those on top don’t want to do anything about it.”

Ostrow said he hopes to get the attention of politicians and inspire action and change as soon as possible.

“I hope to alert leaders that this is an issue that needs to be acted on as immediately as we acted on COVID-19, and I hope to see some real change in government policies,” Ostrow said.