Climate activists Greta Thunberg (3L), Kallan Benson (2L), Zayne Cowie (3R), Jerome Foster II (4R), Khadija Khokhar, (R), Sophia Mathur (2R) and Iris Zhan pose with Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo (C) after Thunberg received Amnesty Internationals Ambassador of Conscience award at George Washington University in Washington, DC on September 16, 2019. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Climate activists Greta Thunberg (3L), Kallan Benson (2L), Zayne Cowie (3R), Jerome Foster II (4R), Khadija Khokhar, (R), Sophia Mathur (2R) and Iris Zhan pose with Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo (C) after Thunberg received Amnesty Internationals Ambassador of Conscience award at George Washington University in Washington, DC on September 16, 2019. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images) (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/Getty)

Crownsville’s Kallan Benson was among the Fridays for Future leaders honored by Amnesty International this week, along with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, for leading an international movement urging students to “strike” from school to call for action on climate change.

The movement was sparked by Thunberg last August when she skipped school to strike outside the Swedish Parliament, and Benson, 15, is now the United States coordinator for the movement Fridays for Future.

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Benson held a silent strike at the front steps of the State House in Annapolis during the General Assembly this year, asking legislators to approve a green amendment to the state constitution and a clean energy jobs act. The first failed; the second passed.

She is also co-director of a project called Parachutes for the Planet, encouraging people around the globe to decorate parachutes with art and concerns about the planet, for use in things like demonstrations. So far 2,144 parachutes have been decorated in 61 countries and 41 states.

On Monday, Thunberg and Fridays for Future were given Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award, which the group said was its finest honor.

“These young leaders have laid down the challenge. In an apathetic world drifting towards calamity, they have stood up as our collective conscience and said, ‘enough is enough’. They have demanded that we stop ignoring the magnitude of the crisis and stop making excuses, and instead start mobilizing,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said.

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