About 250 people from all walks of life gathered Friday at the Nebraska state Capitol as part of a global strike to demand more action in fighting climate change.

They're growing tired of the perceived foot dragging. 

"What do we want? Climate action," they chanted. "When do we want it? Now."

The rally, "Nebraska Climate Strike," was organized by Sustain UNL, a student organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that seeks to encourage local lawmakers to implement more regulations to make the planet more sustainable.

"There is a global strike movement happening all over the world, and through seeing those, we knew right away we needed to organize in Nebraska," said Brittni McGuire, Sustain UNL president. "We know that climate change is a global problem, but it has local solutions. We're not going to have a future unless local communities all over the world take action."

Some of the local solutions that McGuire and other Sustain UNL members proposed are to integrate agricultural and natural resources for sustainable energies and to reject the Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

Inspired by other global climate strikes, McGuire and other members of Sustain UNL invited people through social media to voice their concerns.

Young people, from elementary school to high school students, and other community members demanded action. They proposed more accessible recycling bins, increased carbon tax and better regulations that encouraged the use of sustainable energy, from solar to wind.

Amy Dishman joined the strike with her 7-year-old daughter, Poppy. Dishman said she didn't need to convince her daughter that the planet is in danger.

"I really want the Earth to be healthy," Poppy said. "And since people are cutting trees down, I want there to be more trees and to have more oxygen."

Dishman also believes that the key to fighting climate change is to listen to the younger generation's concerns. 

"I hope that they learn that their voice matters and stand up for what they believe in," she said. "This is part of the democracy, showing up and having a voice."

Allison Shelbourn, 21, said she learned about the impacts of climate change on the environment and agriculture in class and through her own research. 

The size of the demonstration was telling, she said. 

"I think it's cool to see a lot of people from different ages come together," Shelbourn said. "It's uplifting to see everybody coming together for a common cause."

Mechelle Sky Walker, who said the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has impacted the future of many communities and Native tribes, said it's important to begin looking toward the future.

"It's for our children, and it's for our future. So what we do now affects our generation," said Sky Walker, who is on the executive board for the Indian Center and chair of the Native Caucus for the state Democratic Party. "Now our future is in danger. Now the youth is mad because we destroyed the Earth."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or mazizah@journalstar.com. On Twitter @mia_azizah11


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