Strike Two

The second of two year-end global climate strikes takes place today, to turn up the heat on the fight against global warming

December 6, 2019

12:18 pm

The calendar has become a climate ally.

Today is Friday, which means that, like all Fridays for the past 16 months or so, strong climate action is being taken somewhere on this planet.

Rage against the climate machine has been fomenting globally for decades, but since Greta Thunberg started striking from school on Fridays in August 2018, the concept has turned into a bona fide movement, and young people around the world — including Alexandria Villaseñor, Xiye Bastida, Haven Coleman, and many others — have followed in Thunberg’s footsteps, making Fridays a day of climate-related protest and action.

And today is the second day of two planned, year-end strikes (the first being a week ago today on Black Friday), to keep climate in the news cycle — especially while COP25, the UN climate conference, is taking place in Madrid. (Thunberg just arrived in Madrid today for COP25, after a TransAtlantic sailing, and, reported the BBC, was “mobbed” upon her arrival by supporters and media.) These two year-end strikes are also part of a strategy to punctuate the end of the year with another major climate action, and carry momentum forward to Earth Day 2020, which will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and a significant moment in the battle against the climate crisis.

Last week, some 2 million people participated in climate strikes globally. Today in the U.S., strikers are not only demanding that the country recommit to the Paris Agreement and take the steps necessary to address the climate emergency, but also become a leader of other nations in the urgent movement.

Some of the anticipated highlights of today’s 250-or-so strikes in the U.S. include:

  • Boston: Young people, having already plastered the city with wanted posters of their Governor, Speaker of the House, and President of the Senate, will march one mile to their state house, culminating in a rally inside.
  • Chicago: Organizers have planned a die in at Crown Fountain. A march to Chicago City Hall will follow, where young people will speak about climate justice, and demand that Chicago declare a climate emergency.
  • Houston: Houston strikers have organized a die-in on the plaza of the Houston City Hall. The direct action is meant to serve as a jarring sight in the middle of bustling downtown, where many major oil and gas executive buildings are, and highlighting frontline youth — especially those just impacted by the two recent chemical plant explosions.
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: South Florida is ground zero for climate disasters. Young people are demanding that Fort Lauderdale take the lead in climate action in Broward County by declaring a climate emergency and taking steps toward climate mitigation.

One of the key organizations in executing the two global strikes these last eight days (as well as the two fantastically successful strikes in September during UN Week), has been Future Coalition, a network of youth-oriented, climate-protecting organizations. (Disclosure: Future Coalition is the first recipient of an Earth’s Call Fund grant, to help them continue the work they’ve done to rally youth to protect the planet.)

The profile of Future Coalition has received a couple of significant boosts this past week, as well. Katie Eder, Executive Director of Future Coalition, was named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list for Law and Policy. (The 20-year old was, Forbes noted, the youngest one on the list.) Forbes noted that her “advocacy contributed to a record youth turnout across the country in the 2018 midterms.”

And further, when the new, highly ambitious climate-fighting coalition World War Zero was launched last week by former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Future Coalition figured prominently, and was mentioned by the New York Times in its exclusive feature on the organization’s debut, including a quote from Eder. She reacted to the prospect of working in a bi-partisan manner with others who, though sharing a goal of fighting the climate crisis, supported policies at odds with the agenda of most fighting that crisis. “While I may be disagreeing with some of the things that other folks involved in World War Zero believe, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together,” she told the Times. “Collaboration is our key to survival.”

She elaborated on those comments to Earth’s Call.

“Young people are going to continue to demand bold, radical climate action,” said Eder. “That is what makes us so powerful, and that will not change. But that does mean that we cannot also work with people who don’t agree with our solutions or methodology — the two are not mutually exclusive. If we are going to repair our climate and our world, it’s going to take each of us to be onboard in some way, which means it’s critical that we reach across the aisle, expand the table, and work together.”

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