Student Strike for Climate Action — The Event of the Decade Noless

by Duane Nichols on September 21, 2019

And, whether or not it is clear to you, your house is on “fire”

‘I want a future’: Global youth protests urge climate action

From an Article by Jennifer Peltz & Frank Jordans, Associated Press, September 20, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change, turning out by the hundreds of thousands to insist that the warming world can’t wait any longer.

Marches, rallies and demonstrations were held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape Town to New York. More than 100,000 turned out in Berlin.

Days before a U.N. climate summit of world leaders, the “Global Climate Strike” events were as small as two dozen activists in Seoul using LED flashlights to send Morse code messages and as large as mass demonstrations in Australia that organizers estimated were the country’s largest since the Iraq War began in 2003.

“You are leading the way in the urgent race against the climate crisis,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres wrote in a message to the young protesters on Twitter. “You are on the right side of history. Keep pushing us to do the right thing.”

In New York, where public schools excused students with parental permission, tens of thousands of mostly young people marched through lower Manhattan, briefly shutting down some streets.

“Sorry I can’t clean my room, I’m busy saving the world,” one protester’s sign declared.

Thousands marched to the Capitol in Washington, including 15-year-old high school sophomore A.J. Conermann. “Basically, our earth is dying, and if we don’t do something about it, we die,” Conermann said.

Thousands packed the streets around Seattle’s City Hall, following a march where tech workers from Amazon and Google joined students demanding an end to fossil fuel use.

Demonstrations came in smaller cities as well. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who recently abandoned his climate-focused presidential run, addressed a rally in Spokane, and a crowd chanted inside the rotunda of the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.

“It’s really unbelievable and really startling to know how little time we have to reverse the damage,” said Maris Maslow-Shields, a high school student from Santa Rosa, California, who marched in San Francisco.

In Paris, teenagers and kids as young as 10 traded classrooms for the streets. Marie-Lou Sahai, 15, skipped school because “the only way to make people listen is to protest.”


The Green New Deal: A Fight for Our Lives | by Naomi Klein | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books, September 20, 2019

The various versions of a Green New Deal that have emerged in the past year have something crucial in common. Where previous policies were minor tweaks to incentives that were designed to cause minimal disruption to the system, a Green New Deal approach is a major operating system upgrade, a plan to roll up our sleeves and get the job done. Markets play a role in this vision, but markets are not the protagonists of this story—people are: the workers who will build the new infrastructure, the residents who will breathe the clean air, who will live in the new affordable green housing and benefit from the low-cost (or free) public transit.

None of this means that every climate policy must dismantle capitalism or else it should be dismissed (as some critics have absurdly claimed). We need every action possible to bring down emissions, and we need them all now. But it does mean, as the IPCC has so forcefully confirmed, that we will not get the job done unless we are willing to embrace systemic economic and social change.

And let’s not forget that over the past three decades, one of the greatest obstacles to making sustained progress on climate action has been the volatility of the market. During good economic times, there is usually some willingness to entertain environmental policies that mean paying a bit more for gas, electricity, and “green” products. But again and again, this willingness has understandably evaporated as soon as the economy hit a painful downturn. And that may be the greatest benefit of modeling our climate approach after FDR’s New Deal, the most famous economic stimulus of all time, one born in the teeth of the worst economic crisis in modern history.

When the global economy enters another downturn or crisis, which it surely will, support for a Green New Deal will not plummet as has been the case with every other major green initiative during past recessions. Instead, support can be expected to increase, since a large-scale stimulus with the power to create millions of jobs will become the greatest hope of addressing people’s economic pain.

By far the greatest obstacle we are up against is hopelessness, a feeling that it’s all too late, we’ve left it too long, and we’ll never get the job done on such a short timeline. And all of that would be true if the process of transformation were starting from scratch. But the truth is that there are tens of thousands of people, and a great many organizations, that have been preparing for a Green New Deal-style breakthrough for decades (centuries in the case of indigenous communities that have been protecting their ways of life). These forces have been quietly building local models and testing policies for how to put justice at the center of our climate response—in how we protect forests, generate renewable energy, design public transit, and much more.

“Who is society?” demanded then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987 to justify her relentless attacks on social services. “There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families.” That bleak view of humanity—that we are nothing more than a collection of atomized individuals and nuclear families, unable to do anything of value together except wage war—has had a stranglehold over the public imagination for a long time. No wonder so many of us believed we could never rise to the climate challenge.

But more than thirty years later, as surely as the glaciers are melting and the ice sheets are breaking apart, that free-market ideology is dissolving, too. In its place, a new vision of what humanity can be is emerging. It is coming from the streets, from the schools, from workplaces, and even from inside houses of government. It’s a vision that says that all of us, combined, make up the fabric of society. And when the future of life is at stake, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

>>> This essay is adapted from the introduction and epilogue to “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal,” by Naomi Klein, published by Simon and Schuster, September 17, 2019.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: