A young woman with long brown hair and wearing a white t-shirt clapping her hands together. She's smiling at the people surrounding her.
Carissa Englert, 21, claps her hands together and smiles at the fellow climate activists at the Nebraska Capitol. Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS

A group of climate activists came together Oct. 7 in downtown Lincoln and marched to the Nebraska Capitol to raise awareness about climate change. The young adults stood together raising signs made of cardboard in the air and chanting, “Hey! Hey! Ho-ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!”

Participants share their fears and hopes about the future with climate change on the steps of the Capitol.

It’s nice to hear your fears spoken by someone else so that you know that you can relate to them,” Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light Intern Carissa Englert said. “And I feel like just knowing that other people feel the same way as you can make you feel encouraged to act.”

The climate strike was a part of the 2022 Nebraska Youth Climate Summit coordinated by the organization Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, which combines advocating for the Earth and addressing climate change through faith and spiritual messages.

Organizational coordinator Ken Winston said the Nebraska Youth Climate Summit was also held in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

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The strike started with a march. Members of SustainUNL and Embrace Nebraska met at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus union to march to the Capitol together. Caitlyn Croft, 21, is from Omaha and was among the members putting the last touches on her sign before 4:30 p.m. Her sign says ‘Protect our Future.’ Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS

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It was a chilly day, but that didn’t stop the group from making the trek to the Nebraska Capitol. After meeting at UNL’s city campus union, they headed toward Centennial Mall. They kept marching down Centennial Mall with the Capitol in their line of sight. Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS
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Ken Winston wasn’t the only coordinator of the Nebraska Youth Climate Summit. Carissa Englert organized the strike with the help of SustainUNL’s President Rachel Summers and Vice President Abigail Ridder.

“I’ve been interning there since June this summer, and I had two things that I was mainly working on,” Englert said. “One of them was called ‘Cool Congregations’… the other thing that we were working on was the Youth Climate Summit.” Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS

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Carissa Englert was in charge of keeping the strike on schedule. She announced guest speakers and led a few chants with Rachel Summers. Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS

“I feel like all of us experience eco-anxiety whether we know it or not,” Englert said. “The world that we’re inheriting is really scary, and I feel like inaction just feeds that fear. So doing something, whether that’s as small as like taking individual actions or like grouping together and working with other people, just helps you feel less alone and helps get things done.” 

“If no one took action. Nothing would ever change,” Englert said.

“We inherited this massive problem, and no matter what happens, we’re going to have to deal with the effects of climate change,” Ridder said. “Right now, our goal is to mitigate those effects and to reduce those effects.”

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The Nebraska Youth Climate Summit reminded younger generations they have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to fighting climate change. 

“We want to make sure that young people are empowered to take action,” Winston said. “We want to give them the best tools that they can have to address these problems that they’re going to have to deal with.”

Their passion and determination are a force to be reckoned with and the climate strike reminded them of what they’re capable of together. Photo by Kaylee Steen/NNS
Hello there! My name is Kaylee Steen and I am a fourth-year journalism student at UNL. I'm a freelance graphic designer and photographer, but I've also started a paid internship where I run a few social media accounts. I enjoy writing about the environment, features, and nonprofit organizations. I can't wait to share my stories with you!