WASHINGTON — Hundreds of local students gathered on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to rally for climate change.

The students joined thousands of people across 100 U.S. cities and more than 100 other countries who came out Friday for the first-ever Youth Climate Strike.

They say it's time for young people to take the reigns since climate change will ultimately affect their generation.

“The fact that most of the lawmakers in that building aren’t actually going to be around to see the effects of climate change and people of my generation are, just makes it more important that we come out and say that this is an issue. It’s going to affect us, and we need to do something about it," said Zoe Kaufmann, a senior at Walt Whitman High School.

Kaufmann and her classmates plan to continue advocating for change as 2030 looms.

It's a deadline that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave for meaningful action to keep global warming at a manageable level.

“I’ve done a lot of research on extinction rates based on climate change, and I think that if we don’t do something right now, we’re not going to have anything to do later on. We have to start now. We have 11 years, and we really need to get going," said Lindsay Asmussen, a senior at South Lakes High School.

George Mason University freshman Chang Soh hopes to figure out how to convince climate change deniers that it's real by studying environmental science for the next four years.

“I see this argument thrown around among climate deniers all the time that scientists are lying. They’re in it for the money. They change their minds… Science is not perfect. It's always up for revision," said Soh.

Some of the demands of the Youth Climate Strike are:

  • Pass the Green New Deal
  • Halt fossil fuel projects
  • Declare a national emergency on climate change

Even elementary school students, like nine-year-old McCamy Cain, passionately showed up to offer their support for the movement.

“I noticed how my grandparents lived at the Chesapeake bay, and since the sea levels are rising, I don’t want their house to be flooded, and I don’t want them to move, so I came here," said the Hyattsville Elementary student.

McCamy Cain and dad supporting the Youth Climate Strike
Jess Arnold

"The Tiny Diplomat" Havana Chapman-Edwards spoke to the crowd of hundreds advocating for an equitable transition for marginalized communities like the one she lived in when she was younger.

“If our government starts spending more money on good education and other basic human rights, in 11 more years, you probably won’t even need some of the things in the Green New Deal…The future belongs to all of us, even those of us who are still too small to see over a podium," said Chapman-Edwards.