Contributed by Amara Willey.
“If the people lead, the leaders will follow” was given new energy as the season tried to turn from summer to autumn in September. Coinciding with United Nations Week and preceding the U.N. Climate Summit, Swedish student and environmental activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the U.N., inspiring global protests of more than 4 million people.
Climate Strike, the third of its kind this year, was a series of global protests and strikes demanding that action be taken to address climate change during the week of Sept. 20-27. The demands of this ongoing movement include a Green New Deal, respect for indigenous land, environmental justice, protection of biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture.
Montreal saw one of the biggest crowds for the action, gathering an estimated 315,000. To put that in perspective, the September 2014 People’s Climate March in New York attracted 310,000.
Among the demands by Climate Strike Canada – the network overseeing the various activist and student groups organizing the marches – is a call to reject all new fossil fuel extraction or transportation projects, and to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. That sentiment was echoed in the much smaller DC marches during U.N. Week.
Climate protests were also reported in Finland, India, South Korea, Spain, and New Zealand. Tens of thousands of protesters also rallied in Rome, Italy, holding up signs with slogans such as “change the system, not the climate.”
Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays all year to protest that not enough is being done to address climate change issues. Many grassroots organizations are working together on this issue. The adult coalition members are: 350.org, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), Center for Biological Diversity, The Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Hawks Vote, GreenFaith, Greenpeace, Hip Hop Caucus, Interfaith Power & Light, Labor Network for Sustainability, League of Conservation Voters (LCV), March On, Mothers Out Front, Move On, National Wildlife Federation, NextGen America, Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Our Children’s Trust, Oxfam, SEIU, & Sierra Club.
Continued pressure is planned for the two weeks following Oct. 7 by Extinction Rebellion in 60 cities worldwide. In New York City, the 5-day Rebel Fest is set for Washington Square Park Oct. 7-11. Throughout the week, non-violent disruptive actions are planned in various locations in the city. At 9:30 a.m. on Monday Oct. 7, people will gather at Battery Park to partake in an Ecological Funeral Procession and the announcement of Declaration Rebellion. Rebel Fest officially begins later that day at 2:00 p.m. in Washington Square Park, with activities including teach-ins, workshops, art making, meditation, yoga, live music, talks and nonviolent direct action training. For information and the week’s schedule, go here: https://bit.ly/2m85lu9
What you can do:
- Sign the Climate Strike Pledge at www.strikedc.org and/or donate to them.
- Go to https://globalclimatestrike.net/next/ and sign petitions for
- A fossil free FaceBook
- Stopping oil exploitation in Virunga Park, DRC (The Congo)
- Put pressure on New Zealand’s rugby team to dump AIG’s sponsorship
- Join a local campaign for the We Are Unstoppable movement: www.350.org
- Join Extinction Rebellion’s plans for a two-week action starting Oct. 7. Local actions will take place in Washington Square Park in New York City from Oct. 7-11 under the name Rebel Fest. Go here for more information: https://rebellion.earth/international-rebellion/.
- Plant a tree. Go here for more information: https://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/home
- Sing for the climate: https://singfortheclimate.com/. Organize an action locally by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.