Climate strike stresses fossil fuel divestment, community organization


Collegian | Sophia Stern

Participants sit and listen to speakers at the Fort Collins Climate Strike in Old Town March 26. Many of the participants at the climate strike were young people, including Colorado State University students and high school students.

Serena Bettis and Sophia Stern

Around 100 people gathered in Old Town Square March 26 to participate in the Fort Collins Climate Strike. 

The strike held two main purposes: to stand in “solidarity and coordination with Greta Thunberg’s call for a global climate strike” and to build community and bring awareness to three demands the Fort Collins Climate Strike has for the local government and Colorado State University administration, said FoCo Climate Strike spokesperson Ehret Nottingham in a press release.


“The climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity’s existence on this planet and almost all life with it,” Nottingham said at the strike. “We are not talking today about saving the planet — we are talking about saving ourselves.”

The demands include returning the former Hughes Stadium land to Indigenous people, CSU and the CSU endowment fund’s divestment from all fossil fuels and a “ban on all pending and future oil and gas extraction permits in Larimer County.”

At the strike, speakers shared different facts about climate change and their own perspectives on what needs to be done in the community.

One speaker, Big Wind, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming who has been a frontline activist and water protector for over five years, talked about how Indigenous land stewardship connects to the climate.

“We do not own this land,” Big Wind said. “We are a part of it; it is a part of us. Because of that truth, we have an age-long fight to protect the water, to steward it, to steward the land and then therefore the climate.”

A repeated message of the event also included that in order to make change happen, people in the local community need to group together, get to know people different from themselves and work toward their own goals while helping each other.

“(My) friend putting it on, he was telling me it’s mostly about bringing people together,” said participant Aidan Keener. “You see all these different organizations here, and … some of them are fighting for different things, have different priorities, but they’re able to come together to talk about their shared goals and meet people who feel the same way and want to do the same fight.”

Riley Ruff, a representative of 350 Northern Colorado, a group that advocates for a transition to renewable energy and ending fracking in the area, echoed the sentiment that having anyone join the climate strike — no matter their level of participation in activism or knowledge about the issue — is important for building community. 

Ruff said the biggest change they want to see in the local community is the end of fracking and CSU’s divestment from fossil fuels.


“Locally, I want to see the halting of permits in fracking,” Ruff said. “No more fracking permits — stop fracking in Greeley, Weld County, Larimer County, (Colorado). Really all that fracking does is pollute our communities, especially those that are disproportionately impacted.”

The strike was a collaboration between many different groups, including 350 Northern Colorado, The Climate Reality Project Northern Colorado Chapter, Queen’s Legacy Foundation, Food Not Bombs Fort Collins, ClotheThePeople, Colorado Sierra Club, the Associated Students of CSU and the CSU Student Sustainability Center, Nottingham said in the press release. 

These organizations have numerous websites and social media accounts wherein community members can interact with each other, learn and get involved in future events like last weekend’s Fort Collins Climate Strike.

Reach Sophia Stern and Serena Bettis at or on Twitter @csucollegian.