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Plants & Gardens Blog

Supporting the Global Climate Strike and Action

A group of us who work for Brooklyn Botanic Garden gathered Friday in lower Manhattan for the Global Climate Strike to support action to stop climate change. We joined an estimated quarter-million people, many or most of them schoolchildren and teens who had walked out of their classrooms to participate. Millions more participated around the world, inspired by Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg.

Those of us who joined the march and rally represented the Garden from across all departments. Many of us were joined by our children, who we know will bear the brunt of the damage being done now.

As I saw my nine- and 12-year-old daughters march toward Battery Park, I felt inspired, not by looking into their smiling, happy faces, but by seeing that they were dead serious and actually not smiling at all. They and millions of their peers around the world realize that this is no joke and that it’s long past time for us to get to work.

We all work for an institution with a mission that includes plant conservation and science education for youth, and we feel that it’s important to support these goals outside of the Garden. As rising temperatures, frequent storms, and volatile precipitation patterns take a greater and greater toll on plant life—plants are becoming extinct at a rate at least 500 times greater than before the Industrial Revolution—we also feel ever more called to protect the planet’s biodiversity.

And working for an urban green space, we are keenly aware of the need to create strategies to make New York City resilient to the changes in the climate that are already upon us. On the Garden grounds, our Horticulture staff is now dealing with earlier bloom times, more southern pests, and more storm damage than ever.

At the rally in Battery Park, Thunberg told the crowd, “Right now we are the ones who are making a difference. If no one else will take action, then we will.”

We hope that our work at the Garden is helping to inspire this generation to trust science, care for nature, and think creatively about how to protect the planet.

Sarah Schmidt is a former editor of BBG's digital editorial content and the Guides for a Greener Planet handbook series.


  • Ivonne Giske October 18, 2019

    I am writing to you as a gardener at the Botanic Garden of Berlin, and I am very happy to see that you went to take part in the protests on Global Climate Strike 9/20. So did we and it was a great day.

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