ORANGE, Calif. – There is strength in numbers and the Speiser siblings plan to walk half an hour to City Hall every Friday even if it’s just the three of them.
“Once you start realizing how big this problem is, you can’t not do anything anymore,” says 18-year-old Johanna Speiser.
Originally from Germany, Johanna Speiser, her brothers Johnathan and Julius, started striking outside of Orange City Hall a year ago to demand action against climate change. The siblings’ family are conscious about what they eat, the waste they create, and the carbon they emit.
They say they were inspired by many people including a 17-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who went from striking by herself in front of the Swedish Parliament to leading global climate strikes inspired them.
Johanna Speiser’s younger brothers look up to her, but say they have also done their own research.
“It’s not just a scientific problem. All of that, we have to take that away. It’s a moral issue that we as a human race have not been able to give back what we have taken,” says 15-year-old Jonathan Speiser.
Johanna Speiser’s youngest brother, Julius Speiser, says he wishes he didn’t have to strike, but says his future depends on it.
“I don’t want to live a life where the world’s ruined and you basically can’t breathe any air anymore. I, for one, want to live my life fully,” says 12-year-old Julius Speiser.
Word spread about the three siblings standing outside Orange City Hall and soon more people started to show up. Roger Gloss drives about 50 miles roundtrip to strike alongside the Speisers.
“When I was their age, I didn’t have to worry about stuff like this and they do. A lot of them aren’t even old enough to vote and don’t have any real political power to influence this so it’s equally important to them being involved that older generations like mine support them,” says Roger Gloss, a chair member for the Orange County Climate Action.
The Mayor of Orange wasn’t available to speak on camera, but did say he was impressed by the siblings and that the city is focused on becoming a greener city.
Despite that, the siblings say they still want their leaders to declare a climate emergency. They believe that in order for changes to actually happen, more people will have to be informed about the importance of saving the planet they call home.
To keep up with what the Speisers are doing, visit their Twitter page.