Raging Grannies, students step up for climate strike in South Bay

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Just three days before a highly-anticipated climate summit at the United Nations, millions of people participated in a global strike, urgently calling on world leaders to do more to combat the issue.

"It's so inspiring to see young people caring about their future and standing up for what they believe in, and what they really need to survive, cause that's what this is about," said San Jose resident Monica Mallon.

RELATED: Climate Strike: Thousands of students protest in Bay Area, around world

ABC7 News was at San Jose's Diridon Station Friday afternoon as community members gathered for a mile-long march to city hall, out of concern for future generations.

"These kids are out here knocking the doors down, and if there's a chance to save the world, they're going to do it," said long-time public official Rod Diridon, Sr., whom the station was named after.

Demonstrators across the Bay Area took to the streets as part of today's youth-driven movement.

"This is what I think, the single most important issue for me personally, for all of my friends, my community," said Hollister resident Ximena Martinez. "I think this is the one issue regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, you can really rally behind."

At San Jose State University, Dr. Eugene Cordero has spent his career researching climate change and atmospheric dynamics. He's encouraged to see more people taking the issue seriously.

"We know that the climate is changing. We know that we're seeing in California more wildfires, we're seeing more drought, and that's caused by human activities," said Cordero.

RELATED: San Mateo students walk out for global climate strike

Cordero's team created Green Ninja, the only middle school science curriculum in California that focuses on climate change, and environmental stewardship. The program is now being piloted in 20 school districts across the state.

"When we see the state of our planet, and the impacts humans are having, but then more importantly, what we can do about it, students then start to make different choices," said Cordero.

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An evening march and rally at Palo Alto City Hall proved different demographics share the same objective in this global push for change.

An evening march and rally at Palo Alto City Hall proved different demographics share the same objective in this global push for change.

Demonstrators, including the Raging Grannies, continued the call for elected leaders to take more drastic steps to save the planet.

"There's so many issues involved in this that it's going to take cooperation at every level," San Mateo resident, Libby Traubman told ABC7 News.

She and her husband Len admit their generation may have failed in a sense.

"We're here because we were part of an age group that you can say was a little unaware," Traubman added. "Hopefully not too unconscious, but unaware of the choices that we have made that have led us to where we are today."

Many parents present at the Palo Alto push said they're keeping the future in mind. Madhu Parthasarathy said he's already having conversations about the climate with his four-year-old son.

"He's seen polar bears in photos. He wants to see them," he said. "So, explaining to him how if we don't do anything, we might actually not end up seeing them."

Parthasarathy said he thinks that approach has been successful. He's used it to also describe the possibility that his son may never see underwater reefs.

Back to the topic of polar bears. The issue touched Mountain View resident, Eileen Menteer so deeply, she showed up in a polar bear mask.

"I didn't really understand for a long time that there was going to be this kind of problem," Menteer said. "And now that I do, I want to do something."

Between the San Jose and Palo Alto strikes, the commitment to do "something" put thousands of South Bay residents behind the global push for change.

The youth are not only inciting action, but inspiring older generations.

"We have five grandchildren, three in New York and two here in the Bay Area," San Mateo resident, Teri Whitehair told ABC7 News. "And I just feel like I need to do it for them."
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