Highschool Students Organize Climate Strike in Downtown Missoula


Students lined up outside of the Missoula County Courthouse during the climate strike on March 3rd. Photo courtesy of Ila Bell.

Outside of the Missoula County Courthouse on March 3rd, young students from high schools across town gathered in a climate strike to bring action against climate change. Students held signs up as cars drove past and honked in support. 

Lauren Riley, president of Hellgate’s “SAVE” club (Students Against Violating the Earth), held a megaphone, leading the chants. “This year we are focused on ending fossil finance,” said Riley. “Currently, the fights on indigenous territory in North America, local resistance movements in Mexico, Uganda and Tanzania, are proof of the motives of these companies: financial gain with complete disregard for not only the future of this earth, but the future generations.” 

Riley, along with the other protesters outside of the courthouse, chanted for change in big oil companies and change in big corporations. 

Protester Lucy Johnstone said by showing up to the climate strike she was hoping to spread the word and show how much young people care about the planet. Through protesting in front of the Missoula County Courthouse, Johnstone hopes to see climate action in Montana, and to encourage more people to join the fight to help the climate. Johnstone held a sign and followed the chants along with her peers.

The club responsible for organizing the climate strike, SAVE, has been around Hellgate for over 40 years, and has been putting together community events for the Missoula youth to help the planet since the start of the club. This is the second climate strike of the year, the first one last fall. 

Along with climate strikes, SAVE also orchestrates bake sales, guest speakers and outreach programs, and sells sustainable wrapping paper at the Missoula Made Fair in the winter. 

Students participating in the climate strike stood outside of the courthouse for over an hour and a half in the 30 degree weather. With bystanders occasionally joining and holding up signs, the strike brought together the Missoula community. Students from Hellgate and other high schools in Missoula were proud to come together to voice their concern and show their passion for the climate.