Matilda Stephens-Marner is worried about the future.

The 10-year-old Palisade resident said she's worried that if the earth reaches an irreversible tipping point with climate change, she won't be able to enjoy the peaches she loves much longer.

"Something that my parents and teachers taught me is that you do your research and you listen to the experts," she said. "If you believe it or not, these experts know a lot more than we do, and if our leaders aren't going to listen to the experts, we have to stand up to defend our earth, our one and only home."

Matilda was one of nearly 60 attendees at the student-organized Youth Climate Strike on Friday and the youngest speaker at the event.

Grand Valley Students United organized the event on the steps of the old Mesa County Courthouse to raise awareness for climate change, said student organizer Johneth Price.

The event was inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunburg, who started school strikes to raise awareness for climate change every Friday.

Speakers talked about how people need to rethink everything from buying clothes to a cup of coffee in order to stop damaging the earth.

Erin Riccio, a field organizer for Conservation Colorado, said she started getting involved in activism after President Donald Trump was elected and pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and other environmental protection policies.

"I saw a problem and I wanted to fix it," she said.

Riccio said she was encouraged to see young people like Matilda getting involved in activism.

"It really keeps me going to see the next generation carry the torch forward," she said.

Recommended for you