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  • Photograph by Harrison Moore

10 reasons we’re supporting the global climate strike

Young people around the world are inspiring people to take part in a global climate strike September 20-27, 2019, demanding an end to fossil fuels and climate justice.

By Trish Hennessy and Alex Paterson

Here are 10 reasons why we’re supporting this action.

Greta Thunberg rocks—and she’s right

The 16-year-old climate activist is leading the strike, inspiring youth from around the world to make their voices heard. It’s their generation, after all, that is inheriting the catastrophic consequences of inaction. 

Greta to the rest of us: “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful; 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 the house was on fire, because it is.”

 

Hate the weather? It’ll only get worse

The climate scientists warn: “The extreme droughts, devastating wildfires, massive floods, deadly hurricanes, and widespread famines that we’re seeing more and more of these days will cease to be statistical anomalies and instead be more like seasonal markers, as regular as the changing of the leaves.” You can learn more about that at the Canada Climate Atlas

 

For the birds, bees, butterflies

According to the UNFCCC climate change is a key driver in the loss of the world’s biodiversity. This stunning loss of birds since the 1970s should be a wake up call. As one scientist put it: “This is the loss of nature.” We can still prevent the sixth great extinction if we act.  

 

For our health

Tackling climate change can be good for our health if we do it right. We get cleaner air, better transportation, better built homes, and more fulfilling jobs. 

 

For our mental health

The effects of climate change can cause deep grief and anxiety. Upstream Radio Plan B podcast with host Ralph Benmergui talks about how the effects are real, and ways of coping.

 

This is our defining moment

The United Nations calls climate change “the defining issue of our time” and says “we are at a defining moment”. Why? See the next point.

 

The clock is ticking

In October of 2018 the International Panel on Climate Change released its summary of science on preventing global warming over 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report concludes we must take immediate action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030 and off fossil fuels by 2050. That’s 11 years left and counting.

 

Be on the right side of history

Our choice at the ballot box matters more than ever. The next federal government of Canada will determine if we put in place the required legal and policy changes required to cut emissions on time. 

Remember, it takes time to cut those emissions—it will take 5-10 years to manage those declines in output. The plan to do it must be ready to go by next near if we want a just transition to a new economy. 

Any plan that is going to get us there has to be way more ambitious than the current plan. 

 

Organizing is a key precursor to change

Naomi Klein makes an insightful link to how former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) New Deal—which offered “relief, reform, and recovery from the Great Depression” took a lot of external pressure to get it done. 

Klein says: “one thing that’s important to remember is that in the period that produced the New Deal and some of the most important legislation, a lot of the organizing happened after FDR was elected and there were a lot of wildcat strikes without unionization, and the institutions were built on the fly. So I take some comfort in that, in reading that history, because I feel like I thought it was different. I thought they were all organized and then they got the New Deal, and I’m realizing that actually a lot of the organizing happened parallel to it, which makes me feel a little bit better.’

 

The Green New Deal provides hope:

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls the Green New Deal “a flurry of legislation that kicked off our social and ecological transformation to save the planet.” If you haven’t seen it, check out this cool video explainer.

 

 

Connect upstream.