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Hana students rally over climate change

Demonstration draws about 40 pupils, staff

Hana school staff said students felt their voices were heard after a climate change rally Friday. Photo courtesy Gena Sansone

Remote doesn’t mean removed for a group of East Maui students.

Two high schoolers, along with other students and staff at Hana High and Elementary School, joined a worldwide movement that galvanizes youth to rally about climate change.

“Even though Hana is so small and remote, they wanted to add their voices to the growing demand for meaningful action on climate change,” said Gena Sansone, school registrar and student activities coordinator.

Freshman Lilata Sansone and senior Nandi Carano held a “Fridays for Future” strike on Friday that included about 40 Hana students during period four and lunch, according to school staff.

The two researched climate change, greenhouse gasses and global warming. Then the group, along with peer activists Mahea and Kawai Sanita, painted signs, wrote a speech, organized logistics with administrators and created a class lesson plan.

About 40 students, along with staff, rallied over climate change Friday outside Hana High and Elementary School. Photo courtesy Gena Sansone

During the roadside rally, students chanted and waved signs, drawing “lots of honking from passing cars,” staff members said.

Principal Christopher Sanita and Vice Principal Jennifer Everett were supportive, joining the rally while keeping an eye on the students’ safety, Gena Sansone said.

Lilata Sansone and Nandi Carano said the purpose behind the rally is to show people in power that “we are aware and concerned.”

“Will we have a future? Or jobs to educate and prepare ourselves for? This is where change comes in. We need to slowly start converting to renewable energies, like solar and wind energy. We are calling for change,” they said in their.

Started in 2018 by Swedish teen Greta Thunburg, who would strike weekly for “Stronger Climate Action” at her town’s parliament, the effort grew into a global demonstration by thousands of students called “Fridays for Future.”

Hana High and Elementary School freshman Lilata Sansone (foreground) and senior Nandi Carano organized the Hana climate rally after finding inspiration in a Swedish student's global Fridays for Future demonstrations. Photo courtesy Gena Sansone

Gena Sansone said Friday’s rally in Hana went better than expected and that students felt good about making their voices heard.

“Living on an island, we need to be the leaders of this change, we will be affected by climate change quicker and more drastically,” Lilata Sansone and Nandi Carano said. “Let’s come together as a community to not only stand and protest for climate justice today but to implement change in our every daily lives.”