East Dallas student Jonathan Cartwright marches to the steps of Dallas City Hall every Thursday to protest government inaction on climate change.
Most days, he’s alone, in the sweltering heat or frigid cold, holding his signs to the street. Occasionally he can recruit a few friends from school to join. But on Friday, approximately 100 people showed up for a rally urging city leaders to take action on climate change.
Without it, Texas could be more at risk for a growing number of destructive hurricanes, as well as longer and hotter summers.
Cartwright and two other students organized the protest in conjunction with the Sunrise Movement and 350 Dallas. It drew participants from Booker T. Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Hockaday, as well as climate change activists from across the city.
Although Cartwright usually protests on Thursday, the rally took place Friday, when a stakeholders meeting was scheduled to discuss Dallas’ climate action plan.
The Townview senior, who lives near the Casa Linda Plaza, began protesting in August after being inspired by Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. In 2018, the 16-year-old started a climate protest outside the Swedish Parliament that has since spread around the world.
“When I first learned about climate change in elementary school, I felt upset and concerned,” Cartwright said. “It’s come into the forefront of the global conscience, and I’ve been wanting to do more about it.”
Taking individual action on climate change can be as simple as recycling, voting and writing to representatives at the state and local level.
“Climate change has become a politically charged issue, but by talking and going to the polls and voting, every little bit helps,” he said. “A lot of people feel their voice doesn’t make a difference, but that’s completely untrue.”
After high school, Cartwright is considering attending Dartmouth or Middlebury College, where he plans on majoring in environmental science. Until then, he’ll keep protesting at City Hall.
“I’ll keep going until some real action is made on climate change,” Cartwright said.
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