Environment
Fifth-grader Theo Sullivan, 11, is organizing Tacoma students' climate strike on Friday, March 15, 2019. 
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Fifth-grader Theo Sullivan, 11, is organizing Tacoma students' climate strike on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Credit: Grace Sullivan

Tacoma fifth-grader leading climate change strike tells adults: 'Clean up your act'

When you’re 11 years old, the future can look limitless — unless you fear your planet is dying.

Theo Sullivan got worried about climate change and decided he had to do something.

So, this fifth-grader at Washington Elementary School organized Tacoma's part in a global strike by schoolchildren on Friday. He spoke with KUOW’s Angela King about his reasons for acting.

Theo Sullivan: I think my mom had a conversation about climate change a few years ago and I was just like, the world's getting hotter. I was just like: "What? Oh! That's kind of scary. Why would they do that?"

Angela King: What worries you the most? Global warming or the polar caps melting?

Sullivan: I don't want Florida to be enveloped in water. Also I don't want to have to be inside all summer because of the smoke.

King: We had a bad summer this past summer with all of the fires. So as a student you're used to getting graded, but what grade would you give adults when it comes to handling the environment?

Sullivan: Maybe like a D or an E. Cause you guys are messing up but you're not completely burning everything.

King: What do you have planned today?

Sullivan: At 12:00 p.m. at Wright Park, we’re going to be reading some essays that some kids wrote and maybe have some chants.

King: So you have all of these people listening to you right now, adults. What is the one message you would like to get across to them so that they understand how important this is to you and your generation.

Sullivan: I think it's so important because I want to have a healthy, happy world to live in as an adult. And if you don't clean up your act, we're not going to have that. You guys need to clean up your act.

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