THE POWER OF ONE / THE POWER OF MILLIONS
Inspired by 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg, 4 million people from 163 countries took to the streets on September 20 to demand immediate and effective action to address the climate crisis.
What are the demands? They are similar all over the world. These are from the San Francisco Climate Strike:
1.WE DEMAND A SAFE, HEALTHY AND JUST PLANET.
This climate crisis threatens our ability to live. If climate change continues on this course, we won’t be able to eat, breathe, or have safe shelter. In order to successfully fight the climate crisis we are facing, we must also fight the systems of white supremacy, racism, greed, and exploitation that have led us to it. Fighting for climate justice means fighting for a world that is safe, healthy, and just for all of its inhabitants. We must enact climate emergency plans at the local, national, and international level.
2. WE DEMAND JUSTICE AND ASYLUM FOR PEOPLE DIAPLACED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.
Individuals and families displaced by climate change seek asylum in a safe place because they have nowhere else to go. Climate justice means abolishing ICE, closing concentration camps at the border, ending family separation, and creating inclusive new laws and regulations that treat everyone as human.
3. WE DEMAND POLICY BASED ON SCIENCE.
We have eleven years before the effects of the climate emergency are irreversible. We can’t afford to compromise with climate change deniers. We must enact immediate legislation based on scientific analysis of carbon emissions and the ways that climate disasters impact certain communities. Science clearly shows that global temperatures are rising dangerously, and that we are on track to face unprecedented climate disasters. We demand a Green New Deal, a resolution that lays out a science-based plan to reach negative carbon emissions by 2030.
4. WE DEMAND THAT PEOPLE, NOT CORPORATIONS, INFLUENCE POLICY.
Representation and transparency are vital for successful democracies; corporate money must be taken out of politics. We demand all politicians sign the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.” We demand Citizens United must be overturned and super PAC’s be abolished. Corporate funding and donations from millionaires and billionaires must be replaced with public funding of elections in addition to small-dollar donations. To ensure that every vote counts, we must restore the Voting Rights Act, secure automatic registration for every citizen above 18, and re-enfranchise those convicted of felonies.
5. WE DEMAND EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL.
The government must be for the people, by the people; all policies and decisions made must be for the benefit of all. Black and trans lives matter; the Equality Act must be passed. The rights of Brown, Black, and Middle Eastern migrants must be respected. Women deserve full reproductive justice, and equity in the workplace. We demand universal background checks and Medicare for All in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone. We demand diversity and representation, and intersectionality must fuel the climate justice movement. Frontline communities must have a voice and leadership role, and we look to indigenous communities to lead the transition to a just and sustainable world.
6. WE DEMAND THAT HUMANS PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF NATURE.
Just as humans have rights, nature has rights. Humans have a moral obligation to respect and protect plants, animals, and ecosystems. We demand that the rights of nature be legally represented. This includes legislation to provide sanctuary for endangered species, regulate hunting, and end deforestation, pollution, destructive fuel extraction, fracking, factory farming, and unsustainable agriculture. All life is interconnected, and we must live in harmony with the Earth.
7. WE DEMAND A JUST TRANSITION
Countries and individuals that have contributed the most to climate change must be held accountable. We demand urgent climate action, including the Green New Deal, that protects vulnerable communities and create economic justice. Policies must respect workers’ rights ’to living wages and health care, young people’s rights to free, relevant education, and everyone’s right to affordable housing. To quote Movement Generation:
"Transition is inevitable. Justice is not. A just transition is the process of getting from where we are to where we need to be by transforming the systems of economy and governance.
"A just transition requires moving from a globalized capitalist industrial economy to linked local living participatory economies that provide well-being for all."
We have not taken to the streets, sacrificing our education, for the adults and politicians to take selfies with us and tell us that they really, really admire what we do. We are doing this to wake the leaders up. We are doing this to get them to act. We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future. Is that really too much to ask? —Greta Thunberg
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