NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Local college and high school students marched to Nashville Mayor Cooper's office on Monday, demanding an emergency declaration over climate change.
More than 120 youth took their cause downtown, with the objective of ensuring Nashville is an emissions-free city by 2030.
About 20 of those protesters, part of the youth climate crises advocacy organization called Sunrise Movement Nashville, held a sit-in at the mayor's office during the first day of his tenure.
Those youth, mostly local high school and college students, are refusing to leave.
According to a Forbes report from July, more than 800 cities and jurisdictions worldwide have declared climate emergencies, some in the U.S.
“Mayor Cooper ran on ‘putting neighborhoods first’, but there’s not going to be any neighborhoods unless we act on the climate crises”. Jacob Huff, a Tennessee state university student and activist, said that “The climate crisis poses an existential threat to my generation. If our city government cares about my generation, the Mayor needs to declare a climate emergency as soon as possible.”
A representative from the mayor's office said Cooper spoke with some of the activists during the protest.
"A group of activists marched through downtown to sound the alarm about climate change and have asked Nashville to declare a climate emergency. We applaud their activism and commitment to addressing this critical issue," Mayor Cooper said. "We look forward to rolling out sustainability initiatives as we move forward."
Amid a Climate Change Conference hosted by the United Nations, 66 countries have promised to have more ambitious climate goals and 30 swore to be carbon neutral by mid-century.