Fridays for Future at RCMS gets students passionate about climate change


Fridays for Future members hold up signs. From left: Momo Lepsch, Sienna McIntyre, Ariya Lee, Nethra Purushothaman.

Fridays for Future is a new movement at RCMS formed to inspire kids in our school to act against climate and inspire them to make a difference.

“We got the idea from another activist we know and we thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness,” said Ariya Lee, 13, on the Voyagers team, one of the founders of Fridays for Future.

Ariya and and Nethra Purushothaman, 14, on the Discovery team, realized then that they had to do something about climate change, which is why they started FFF. Now they’re on a mission to inspire other people to act against climate change and bring awareness to the issue.

They began organizing weekly Friday events held between 7:10-7:25 a.m.

“I think it’s fantastic to see students in our school becoming passionate about this!” said Mr. Kirk Treakle, RCMS librarian. “Sometimes people feel like they’re too young to act and make a difference and what they do doesn’t make a difference but it does.”

Along with all this, there are a lot of topics taught in FFF as well.

“We do chants, land acknowledgements which is basically the native land we’re on, and what’s happening in the world and what’s making climate change worse,” said Momo Lepsch, 13, on the Legacy team.

Students are given the option to bring signs to the events or rallies and hold them up in front of the school, and Ariya and Nethra provide signs as well. The events are about 10 to 15 minutes long, and students speak about a different topic at each event. Topics include:

  • The Willow Project
  • Fossil fuels
  • Rallies or protests around the world
  • What’s making climate change worse

“We cover the basic facts on climate change and we talk about what kids can do on a bigger level, like at Carson or in Fairfax county whether that’s speaking at school board meetings or advocating for a law or something,” Nethra said.

Nethra and Ariya both think it’s important to get kids involved in the bigger picture, beyond individual actions like recycling.

Mr. Treakle said students can speak out in many ways.

“Do whatever you can with whatever time you have,” he said. “This crisis affects every aspect of your life. For example, if you’re doing a project in English or civics pick a topic of climate change for a school topic.”

Small choices add up.

According to a ScienceNewsExplores article, food production, especially meat, is accountable for one-fifth of all greenhouse gasses. By altering your diet, you can make an effort to save the planet.

Momo offers even more ideas.

“Recycle more,” she said. “If an event is close to your house, bike there instead of using a car. Also plant trees! What we’re doing affects the environment which then affects the climate.”

Mr.Treakle said he is hopeful.

“In the last five years,” he said, “there has been a drastic awareness, and that’s just got to keep happening if we want to stop it.”