Living in Washington D.C. has many perks. Between all the museums, monuments, and amazing food, “the swamp” is a good place to call home. However, one big downside about living in the nation's capital is that it is always the centerpiece for any large demonstration, protest, or march. With the climate strikes happening around the world, I knew it was only a matter of time before something happened in D.C.–and boy, was it something. 

During peak rush hour, the demonstrators successfully #ShutDownDC. But at what cost?

This protest had no rhyme or reason–the protesters were simply there to disturb the peace. Entire city blocks were filled with cars idling (unnecessarily polluting the air) and many individuals were left to face consequences at work for being late. There are many places in D.C. to hold a protest, but I would argue the middle of the street is never a good option in any city.

Millennials and younger generations alike are eating up these latest climate strikes. It seems that the popularity of the topic is almost considered “trendy” on social media and in social circles. If making climate change into more of a pop-cultural moment was their goal, then the climate activists succeeded. But we have to acknowledge the fact that this “trendiness” has come at the expense of civil and scientific debate about our environment. 

Just one hour north of D.C., in Baltimore, MD, conservative activists decided to take a different approach to the climate strikes: taking time to clean up garbage off the streets. The group calls themselves “The Persistence” and they have picked up over 50 tons of trash in liberal cities across America. This seems to be a much better use of time (and better for the environment) than dancing in the streets and letting cars sit in traffic. 

After weeks of demonstrations, climate strikes continue to pop-up around the world. I support the right to safely protest, but once the protest loses touch with the cause, the demonstration is just a waste of time. Let’s hope more people join groups like #ThePersistence and stop making me late for work!