What We Wore to the Historical Climate Protest

“It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your coal.”

“There is no planet B.”

“If you did your job… I would be in school.”

Welcome to NYC’s school strike for climate change, a movement led by Sister Nature, aka Greta Thunburg, and adopted by creative, sign-making students everywhere. 

On Friday, September 20, I did what Greta would have wanted, and skipped my class to go to the climate protest. 

It was overwhelming and hot, with teens shouting chants from scaffolding to a slow and steady crowd heading down to Battery Park. The energy was strong, and I was amazed at all the people around me, majority younger than I, who had shown up to take a stand. 

Most adults looked amazed and baffled. I looked… overdressed.

Climate change is so easily seen as an “adult issue,” as many of us former pre-teens learned the first time we brought up politics on Thanksgiving. But yet, I walked through a sea of protesters that couldn’t even vote, screaming at the top of their lungs for change. They had overrun FiDi in a hail mary attempt to save a planet that some have lived on for less than a decade. Most adults looked amazed and baffled. I looked… overdressed.

Cooking under the sun wearing leather pants (big mistake), I took a look around at all the teens wearing their school shirts, green gear and granola bucket hats, thrifted essentials, etcetera. So this is what you wear to a climate strike, I thought. Besides being historically groundbreaking, this protest was probably the most fashionable to date. Kids in 2040—given that humanity hasn’t burned to smithereens at that point—will look to their history textbooks for lessons and find… OOTD inspo? 

It’s time to save the planet in some vintage 501s. Here are some of the best looks from NYC’s school strike for climate change.

Photography by Mary Steinbaugh @mary.shoots.people