City Honors Teen & UB Prof's Son Speaks Passionately about Our Changing Climate

Ilyas Khan at WBFO.

BY EILEEN BUCKLEY republished from WBFO 88.7

Release date: March 11, 2019

“We want parents there, striking with us, working with us all the way through because we need to work together to get politicians to notice. Otherwise...the world is going to be in a lot of trouble"
Ilyas Khan, City Honors Freshman
Climate Change Walkout Organizer

Students across the globe are fighting for climate change. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says here in Buffalo, a City Honors School student is organizing a walk-out for this Friday, March 15, to demand climate justice.  

"We need to make a scene to actually get politicians to notice,” said Ilyas Khan, a City Honors freshman.

Khan is working with a few other students at the school to organize the planned walk-out.

“We want parents there, striking with us, working with us all the way through because we need to work together to get politicians to notice. Otherwise, nothing will be done in 11 years if the U.N. predictions hold true. The world is going to be in a lot of trouble,” Khan remarked.

“If you were sitting across from President Trump right now and you had his ear, what would you say to him on this topic?” Buckley asked. 

“I would say, Mr. Trump, I know that you’re receiving a lot of money from fossil fuel companies and I know that you seem to care, quite a bit, about money, but your beachfront properties of Mar-a-Lago will probably be flooded often in the next few years, and I don’t think you want to pay so money to deal with that flooding. So maybe you should consider the Green New Deal to mitigate these issues,” Khan responded.

Many students across the country are trying to gain the attention of politicians to demand passage of the Green New Deal. The legislation would call to eliminate carbon emissions and 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2030. Khan says it's a critical issue to his generation’s future.

“Kids now, especially because there’s 11 years to really change this around, are really getting kind of angry about this whole attitude and the fact that people are just trying to keep us from actually speaking out about it,” Khan explained.

Khan said as part of this Friday's planned walk-out, students will be taking the subway to City Hall to protest.     

City Honors principal William Kresse tells WBFO News for the sake of the safety of his students, he can't "condone" a walk-out. However, parents or guardians are allowed to sign their child out of class.

In a written statement, Kresse noted the school is willing to collaborate with students on issues of importance, just as they did last year gun violence protests. Khan says students are asking parents or guardians to join them for the walk-out.       

“Last year, our students approached our administrative team about a day of education and remembrance surrounding issues of gun violence. We were able to work out an arrangement that met all interests. Our students have collaborated to do the same this year,” wrote Kresse.  

Kresse also noted the school is in support of the environmental topic.

“We have a very active 'Environmental Champions' Program that is available to all students. Day in and day out, these students and their teacher-advisor are making a tangible difference in our environmental footprint at the school. Students are also welcome to form clubs that meet their interests. All they need to do is secure a faculty advisor so the district can be assured they are not left unsupervised,” stated Kresse. 

Students in other parts of the nation are also planning school walk-outs Friday.

global goals.

Sustainable Development Goals:

13. Climate Action: Taking steps to combat climate change and its impacts 

17. Partnerships for the goals: Revitalizing global partnerships for a sustainable future and strengthen the implementation of these goals