Hundreds of students from the Telluride School District were in the parking lot during school hours Sept. 20, all united on a common front — the climate crisis. We made speeches and shouted chants ranging from “save the turtles” to “powder days.” These “truants” were not reprimanded nor stopped from exiting the building, because our teachers and administrators approved of our cause. This was part of a massive international effort led by Greta Thunberg of Sweden. We left the school fully knowing what we were doing and thus putting pressure on all those who have power to do more.

We, the generation who will bear the burden of the climate crisis, are doing the most to preserve our future. But we are not the ones to blame here; we put pressure on our parents to do the right thing, we walk to school, and when necessary, we walk out of it. We walked out of school that day to demand action among greater forces, local and international. However, the local aspect is far more important for tangible change, because the carbon footprint of a citizen in the Town of Telluride is twice the national average. Colorado has already started to feel the attacks of a varying climate, and Telluride is guilty of helping cause this. This supposedly progressive town has the carbon footprint of something twice its size, which is absurd. But we did not miss our classes to voice our opinions; we missed classes to make tangible change. So let’s do that.

In Telluride, our power is sourced from San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), which does their best to promote clean, cost effective energy in San Miguel County. The problem is that Tri-State Generation and Transmission has a 50-year contract with SMPA, forcing SMPA to be under the coal-burning grasp of Tri-State. The 50-year contract is a detrimental contract in regards to my generation’s future. We have 11 years left before our planet is on a sure road to destruction, and I cannot stand by.

Put pressure on Tri-State and help protect my peers and I. Vote, pressure and use your power to stop the climate crisis. We have less power than you, but that doesn’t stop us from making big, institutional change. Protect our future.

Wiley Holbrooke