The growth of solar PV, wind and batteries as energy sources is not happening in a social and political vacuum.
Today, students at over 200 schools across 43 states will be walking out of classes to protest inaction by the federal government on climate change. This is part of a global movement, with events planned for 2,083 towns and cities in 125 nations.
This is the first large-scale manifestation of the #schoolstrikeforclimate, started by teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has become a global celebrity by leading her classmates to walk out of class and protest at the Swedish Parliament to demand action on climate change which matches the urgency of the problem.
Before this, a much smaller number of youth were “striking” over climate issues, such as 9-year-old Zayne Cowie, who has been protesting at New York City Hall on Fridays since December 7.
The only states which did not have actions shown on the Youth Climate Strike website are Delaware, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. These are some of the least-populated U.S. states, and several are major coal and/or oil and gas producers.
The adults supporting the children
While the Wall Street Journal – which for a long time was a bastion of climate denial, and remains editorially inclined towards oil and gas interests – ran an op-ed comparing the climate strike to the Children’s Crusade, the effort has not only the backing of leading environmental and climate organizations in the United States, but also scientists and politicians.
The U.S. action is endorsed by Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Sunrise Movement, 350.org and other organizations. It has further been endorsed by more than 300 scientists, who have signed on to a letter written by five climate scientists including Michael Mann and Katherine Hayhoe. The letter, which has been posted on Scientific American, states that the youth “recognize the battle for their future.”
Without aggressive action to reduce humanity’s carbon emissions, these students can expect to bear witness to a world we can’t fully imagine yet: one where irreversible changes to our water and food systems, our infrastructure and our economy, shape a planet and a society very different from what we see today, a world characterized by greater insecurity, uncertainty, and inequity that directly threatens their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
The effort has also been endorsed by a range of politicians in the Democratic Party, including 2016 presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. It is even more popular among the new, insurgent left wing of the Democratic Party, in fact the 16-year-old daughter of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) is one of the three co-founders of the U.S. component of the Youth Climate Strike.
Three amazing young women—Isra Hirsi, age 16; Haven Coleman, age 12; and Alexandria Villaseño, age 13—have organized youth climate strikes around the country tomorrow. Their demand: a livable future for their generation.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 14, 2019
Update 12:00 PM: Hundreds of students are at the Massachusetts State House protesting, as can be seen in this video by Massachusetts Sierra Club:
— Mass Sierra Club (@MassSierraClub) March 15, 2019