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YouthStrike4Climate Student March – London, UK – April 12, 2019
Photo Credit: Common Dreams (Photo Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

To those people who are still in denial that humanity faces a climate crisis that would most likely lead to the extinction of our species, not to mention most other species, I say, wake up to reality. We cannot afford to wait until reality strikes you in the groin or chest for us to take evasive action as a united nation.

 

Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum 2019 – Davos, Switzerland
Watch Video: World Economic Forum, Published on January 25, 2019

 

Because we adults are asleep at the wheel, leadership in humanity’s existential crisis now falls upon our youth. After all, it’s their future that is at stake. Greta Thunberg, a fifteen-year-old Swedish student has had enough of the failure of world leaders to act. In her address to the ultra-rich gathered at the World Economic Forum in January 2019, she tells them:

“I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks with young activists of the Sunrise Movement
California Office, USA – February 22, 2019
Watch Video: Washington Post

 

Here in the world’s leading economy, our leadership is more concerned about preserving their self-interests, their political party, and the status quo. On February 22, 2019, when young activists of the Sunrise Movement visited the California office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ask her to vote for the Green New Deal, she was firm in rejecting their petition.

“We have our own Green New Deal,” Feinstein tells them. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that… I just won a big election.”

 

Youth climate activists during sit-in at Washington DC office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – February 25, 2019
Photo Credit: Common Dreams (Photo Sunrise Movement)

 

The following Monday, February 25th, over 200 young members of the Sunrise Movement joined about twenty Kentucky high school students outside the Capitol Hill office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to demonstrate their support for the Green New Deal. They failed to meet him. Instead, the Capitol Police arrested more than forty of them.

While there is yet no consensus on the Green New Deal—which right-wing commentators view as a socialist takeover of our economy—lawmakers in Washington DC are busy undoing decades of environmental protection regulations. Then, on June 20th, the New York State Assembly passed its own Green New Deal at the state level. Their aggressive Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act calls for net zero carbon emissions statewide by 2050.

On July 9th, our young climate activists gained another victory in their call for action. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) announced the introduction of a resolution in Congress to declare that the climate emergency facing our planet demands a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States” in order to “restore the climate for future generations.”

Over two dozen lawmakers, including most of the senators currently running for president, signed on as co-sponsors.

Blumenauer calls for a reality check. “To address the climate crisis, we must tell the truth about the nature of this threat,” he said in his statement.

“What we need now is Congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of the planet,” Sanders said. “Climate change is a national emergency, and I am proud to be introducing this resolution with my House and Senate colleagues.”

Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe,” Ocasio-Cortez added. 

Read the full Climate Emergency Resolution.

Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, supports the resolution. “With an unhinged climate denier in the White House, it’s on Congress to steer us away from climate suicide,” he said in a statement. “This resolution is a sane recognition that science says we need a massive transition away from the production and consumption of dirty fossil fuels.”

The time is now to break down the walls of partisanship, the walls of fear, the walls of ignorance, the walls of hatred and divisiveness, the walls of exclusion, the walls of separateness, the walls of inequality.

“Our house is on fire!” alerts the high school student Greta Thunberg.
“Let it burn!” says The Bully, sitting at the top of the world. “The oil is mine! All mine!”

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