This week, environmental advocates addressed intensifying fossil fuel pollution, climate injustices, and the Biden administration’s failure to take the lead on climate crisis solutions during the Occupy Biden protests near Joe Biden’s Wilmington, DE home. Their goal remains to increase the pressure on the President to declare a climate emergency and end new fossil fuel projects. The actions are being led by local community leaders and supported by dozens of environmental and social justice groups from around the country, and have resulted in hundreds of people taking action. The Occupy Biden actions began on Christmas Day, December 25, and will culminate in a rally and march at 1 pm. New Year’s Day, January 1.Continue reading
COP26: On The Outside, Always Looking In
As the first-ever person from my city to attend the biggest summit in the world about climate change, the hype was real. My friends and family were very much eager to see what would happen in the most anticipated COP since COP21, and the local government gave me their full support to report back the important things that could be echoed back to my community. Unfortunately, my disappointment was even bigger than I thought imaginable, and this COP turned out to be quite uneventful on my part.
Coming into the Blue Zone (the area where the official negotiations took place) for the first time and seeing the giant globe suspended from the ceiling, I was full of excitement.Continue reading
The Imperial Legacy Of Climate Change
The student movement is no stranger to protests and direct action. From marching against South African apartheid to fighting for justice for workers, students have a long history of daring to reimagine the world we want to live in and uncompromisingly working towards it. Perhaps it is unsurprising then that students and young people are once more at the forefront of a campaign—one fighting for climate justice and our very ability to exist.
For several decades we have been told that our individual actions alone can reverse the climate crisis. The truth is paper straws and bags for life cannot compensate for decades of missed COP targets, government inaction, and the wealthiest 1%—predominantly in the Global North—producing double the emissions of half our global population combined. We urgently need systemic change.Continue reading
Activist Interview: The Life Force, And The ‘Pipe Filled With Poison’
Shay Lynn Sampson is determined she won’t be telling her children what salmon used to taste like or what it was like to live close to their land. She is one of the Indigenous people preventing Coastal GasLink (CGL) from running a pipeline under Wedzin Kwa (Morice River), the pristine water source for the Wet’suwet’en and their close downstream allies, the Gitxsan.
Twenty-two-year-old Sampson spoke to me on November 8 from behind a blockade inside a “Tiny House,” purposely built with many other structures to shelter the people putting their bodies on the line to stop the project. Sampson is also the youth engagement coordinator for Indigenous Climate Action. This young Gitxsan woman is helping to ensure the Coastal GasLink pipeline never gets built.Continue reading
How To Fight For A Better World When Hope Feels Scarce
This question of what we do doesn’t exactly feel like it gets at the heaviness that’s in me, that’s in us. I’ve spent the last three years asking, in the face of enormous difficulty, “What do we do now?” and I’ve learned that coming up with a smart answer to that question may offer some high for a period of time, but it’s pretty clear it can’t sustain us.
I think that’s because the significance of what we’re staring down doesn’t just beg questions about potential shifts in strategic emphasis, it also raises much deeper questions about what we do when hope is scarce. What do we do when it’s quite reasonable to believe that things will get harder? When we assume that more of our campaigns will fail? When the suffering around us keeps increasing?Continue reading
Rainbow Warrior To Defy Glasgow Port By Sailing To COP26
If the voyage is successful, the four youth activists on the Rainbow Warrior plan to meet fellow members of the Fridays for Future climate strike movement on 1 November outside the summit to deliver their message. They’re warning that the climate talks should not go ahead without the people who are most affected. But they say many activists have been shut out by a failure to distribute vaccines equally between countries and travel restrictions. Meanwhile major nations have big delegations attending.
The Rainbow Warrior set sail from Liverpool on 30 October. It contacted the Clyde port authority to request permission to berth outside the COP26 conference, but it was told it couldn’t sail up the Clyde and that the area was controlled by police.Continue reading
Activism Needs To Be Part Of Any Meaningful Climate Education
Last month, crowds of young people and supporters gathered in 1,500 locations around the world for one of the largest youth-led climate protests since countries began emerging from the most restrictive phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students skipped school or staged class walkouts to participate in the Sept. 24 day of action, the latest surge of activity from the school strike movement that launched in late 2018.
The protest was a sign that youth climate activists, who have had to adapt to COVID lockdowns and restrictions on large gatherings, are ready to reassert themselves through mass mobilizations. In just the last few years, young people have raised the profile of climate change as a national concern in the United States, made climate a major issue in Congress for the first time in over a decade, and persuaded colleges and universities to divest billions of dollars from fossil fuel companies.Continue reading
Youth Activists Confront Shell CEO At TED Talk
Environmental campaigners took over the stage at the TED Countdown conference in Edinburgh which was hosting a panel discussion with Royal Dutch Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden.
The activists say they raised concerns with TED Countdown organisers that a fossil fuel company, like Shell, has no place speaking at an event that positions itself as a “global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis”.
Despite calls from activists to remove van Beurden from the panel, he was allowed to retain his speaking slot on the main stage.
One young activist, only named as Lauren, was invited onto the stage and used the opportunity to criticise Shell and Siccar Point Energy for steaming ahead with the Cambo oil field during the climate crisis.Continue reading
Big Banks Are Funding Fossil Fuel Projects — Let’s Hold Them Accountable
The biggest banks are using your money to fund the climate crisis. We have seen this story before. In 2008, the recklessness of megabanks sank the global economic system. Now, in 2021, the youth climate movement is saying that we’ve had enough. We’re not going to let the banks bring down the entire planet too. On October 29, young people are occupying and shutting down banks across the globe to demand an end to fossil fuel financing and the beginning of a Fossil-Free Future, and we need you to join us.
Over the past few years, the youth climate justice movement has mobilized historic numbers of people. Together, we’ve brought a new awareness to the climate emergency and inspired a generation of young people in the fight for climate justice. We called on world leaders to listen to science and frontline communities and to treat climate change as what it is: an existential threat to humanity.Continue reading
In Central York, Kids Rose Up To Save Books From Their Parents
The mess in the Central York School District, which includes several suburban townships just north of York, in a county where Donald Trump won 62% of the vote, started after some parents and teachers had hoped to bolster the curriculum around anti-racism in the wake of the George Floyd protest marches in spring 2020. The move backfired when some parents started complaining about the reading list proposed by a committee. “I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling guilty because she’s white,” one parent, Matt Weyant, told a recent school board meeting. Then, panicked school board members imposed “a freeze” on students using the books. To critics, it sure looked like a school book ban — with a chilling effect on teachers hoping to teach lessons against racism.Continue reading
Students March For Pathway To Citizenship At ‘Welcome Back Congress’
A steady chorus of drums and symbols filled Benjamin Banneker Park in Washington, D.C., as the sun peaked in the overcast sky above. A sea of protesters joined the beat and began chanting.
“Congreso, escucha, estamos en la lucha,” the crowd roared in Spanish, each repetition growing louder.
Their voices rose above the percussion and were greeted by an enthusiastic organizer speaking into a microphone. The “Welcome Back Congress” march had officially begun.
Around a thousand activists and immigrants — including a humble contingent from the University of Maryland — converged in Washington, D.C., Tuesday as Congress returned from its August recess. The march, organized by CASA, a grassroots immigrant advocacy organization, demanded that a pathway to citizenship remain in the budget reconciliation package.Continue reading
California Kids To Teachers’ Pension Fund: Divest From Oil
The kids are mad as hell—and so are teachers who want their California teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, to join 1,000 other institutions collectively divesting $14.5 trillion from the fossil fuel industry that threatens climate catastrophe. The retirement fund divestment fight, led by retired teachers in Fossil Free CA and students from Youth vs Apocalypse and Earth Guardians, estimates CalSTRS’ portfolio investments in fossil fuels at $16 billion, mostly in oil and gas delivery systems, but $6 billion in direct investments in oil behemoths, with $400 million in Exxon-Mobil, $350 million in Chevron, $250 million in BP and $108 million in Enbridge Inc. This is the same corporation sending attack dogs to maul water protectors protesting drilling at river crossings on indigenous land, where Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline will send sludgy tar sands through Minnesota.Continue reading
Youth Descend On Homes Of Feinstein And Pelosi To Demand Climate Corps
San Francisco – A group of youth climate activists scattered wildfire ashes on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco porch Monday, a final act of civil disobedience at the end of a 266-mile march meant to spur lawmakers to action on climate change.
Pelosi did not appear — nor did Sen. Dianne Feinstein when the activists stopped by her Pacific Heights mansion earlier in the day — but, if home, the Speaker may have spotted a glimpse of the giant street mural the activists left behind on Broadway at Normandie Terrace. The 16-foot painting advertised the group’s goal: a civilian climate corps to combat global warming.
“Invest in us,” the painting read, above the fanning yellow rays emblematic of the youth-led Sunrise Movement that sponsored the protest.Continue reading
Youth Launch ‘Stronger Campaign’ For UN Biodiversity Day
International Day for Biological Diversity is observed on May 22 under the theme ‘we’re part of the solution.’ A network of youth groups is informing policymakers that young people are tired of the same old rhetoric and platitudes.Continue reading
Israel-Palestine: A New Generation Says ‘Enough Is Enough’
This is not the first war between Gaza and the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. It is the fourth major confrontation in less than 13 years – but this one is different.
Firstly, it was Hamas that initiated the battle in retaliation for Israel’s desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and the attempt to forcibly remove Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, to be replaced by Jewish settlers.
Secondly, the confrontation coincided with an unprecedented show of unity and solidarity across the occupied West Bank, ’48 Palestine and the diaspora. All were brought together by flagrant Israeli provocations over what Muslims around the world consider to be their third-holiest place of worship on earth.Continue reading