A march in Tamarindo, voices for our planet

By: Marisol Arias   Photos by: María José Méndez

This is the story of how some girls took action and decided to inspire other teens to protest in Tamarindo so their voices would be heard by adults.

This was not just any voice, but a brave one that rose above a mood of indifference with the resounding facts about climate change and global warming.

This is the story of Sarah Venegas and Valentina O’Shea´s commitment, as they led a march inspired by the struggle of another young girl, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, barely 15 years. Greta herself made her voice heard internationally annoying politicians and influencing many people worldwide. Her rallying cry was the slogan: “Fridays for Future”.

From Tamarindo, Venegas and O’Shea decided to integrate Costa Rica into the global actions promoted by Thunberg.

"Greta drew the attention of the most powerful decision makers worldwide and asked them to take action immediately. She decided that on March 15, people from all over the world should organize their own local marches. Millions of students marched—in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, even in Antarctica. Costa Rica, being an ecological country, needed to be a part of this as well. And I wanted to do something, but I could not do it all alone, so I asked Valentina O'Shea for help and we ended up organizing a march here in a very short time," Vanegas explained.

And so they did. They requested support from their school, Educarte, and the Traffic Police, and the Municipality of Santa Cruz granted the permits to walk along the community´s streets with banners with inspiring messages inviting reflection.

“There is N a Planet B” (There is not a Planet B), “Keep the Earth Clean. It’s not Uranus”: These were some of the messages declared by young people from various schools who showed their opinions, thoughts and complaints in order to draw the community´s attention with the hope of changing attitudes towards taking actions that benefit the environment.

“The march was a success. Educarte, GEA, Tide, Journeys and La Paz were the participating schools. Teachers and parents also took part in the march that accounted for 150 people,” said Milagros Gallegos Rioja, Director of Educarte.

THE Tamarindo News asked the march organizers if the goals had been met.

“Yes, because our goal was to make people aware of this crisis and we know that we did that, and people have acknowledged our action with the march. Many people told us that we did a good job, that they know that climate change is a current crisis and that we have to make our government aware so that Costa Rica remains an ecological country,” Sarah told us.

“Not only do we want Costa Rica to remain ecological, but also we want all other countries to return to being ecological and not to continue contributing to climate change”.

“We wanted to be part of this great movement. We wanted to support Greta Thunberg and the people that have no voice. By doing this, one demonstrates that every person has a voice and that every voice is valuable, no matter the age,” Venegas said.

Aware that there are more and more effects and evidence of global warming and that the decisions taken at the political level can accelerate this process, Sarah and Valentina decided to move where they know best: on social networks and in their community, with their parents and classmates,

“We are very concerned about this problem and people in power do not appear to be taking the issue seriously. We, the young, do not have the power to do something in great magnitude as they have the capacity to do. Therefore, we decided to start acting by organizing the March 15 march in Tamarindo.”

“We believe the march was an excellent experience because we could be a small part of something big. It was also a good experience for the students who participated because many of them wanted to support Greta Thunberg and take care of the environment. From 1 to 10, we personally qualify the march as an 11”.

With their efforts, Sarah and Valentina took strong steps to collaborate in the struggle for the planet, as did Thumberg as well as all the local students, teachers and parents who participated in the march.

“We have other projects in mind in terms of climate change, such as cleanup of the beach or the Tamarindo estuary. We are eager to produce these activities along with other schools because we would like to have more support and a larger group of collaborators. We have not defined yet what we will do next, but we know we will do something. “