SACRAMENTO — Students across the country, including many local students, plan to walk out of school Friday as a protest to call for more action to address climate change.
Organizers have dubbed the event the “U.S. Youth Climate Strike.” It’s an extension of similar protests around the world that began last summer.
The movement gained attention when 13-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations Climate Summit reprimanding delegates for not doing more.
“It’s the first of many things we’re going to be doing to keep the conversation centered around this issue,” said Austin Michael with the “U.S. Youth Climate Strike.”
The marches, strikes and rallies are scheduled in all but a few states. Both Sacramento and Davis have planned events.
It all comes at a time when public concern about climate change is on the rise, driven by extreme weather events and more reports on the increasingly dire consequences of the warming climate, such as the Camp Fire last year.
“The air quality in Sacramento was some of the worst in the world and effects like that will only continue to worsen as time goes on and as we continue to do nothing on the issue,” Michael said.
Their platform includes a call for Congress to pass the Green New Deal, which is aimed at speeding the country’s transition to carbon-free energy and remaking the economy to spread the wealth more evenly.
“One thing people have been saying about the Green New Deal is it’s not possible, it’s not going to happen,” Michael said. “And I think we need to get out of that mindset and stop focusing on what’s possible and start focusing on what’s necessary.”
Michael believes neither energy companies or lawmakers are moving fast enough and the clock is ticking. He says that is the reason behind Friday’s strike.
“I think we definitely can do this, it is obtainable and we have to,” he said.
Friday’s strike isn’t the only event planned. Organizers say there will be another just like it in May.