Forget about “Climate Change.”

Not the problem, but the term. It’s old hat, outdated and far too “vanilla” to paint the true picture of the critical state of planet Earth’s current and future climate. (Click here for a one minute podcast from NC Policy watch on this topic.)

While the fossil fuel industrial complex continues to sew seeds of doubt, denial and inaction, those whose future is most at stake, the world’s youth, are taking to the streets and sounding the alarm, “This is a crisis. Our house is on fire! Do something about it.”

In response to Global Warming and the inaction of world leaders to its calamitous consequences, youth are themselves turning up the heat and demanding systemic solutions. The tiny flame of an improbable global movement was lit quietly one Friday in August 2018 when a 15 year old Swedish student skipped school to plant herself in front of the Swedish Parliament building with some fliers and a sign reading: School Strike for Climate. Greta Thunberg’s lone strike continued every Friday for weeks and months until it sparked an unprecedented response from young people around the world.

An ill wind of governmental inaction to a life threatening climate crisis has fanned a youth-led movement that will ignite the largest climate centered demonstration in history with the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019. The word’s youth have sent out the memo to the world’s adults. Stop whatever else you may be doing as part of your mundane daily routine and join us in this global strike for climate justice and action.

Within the United States at the time of this post over 700 events are planned with thousands scheduled around the world in 117 countries. In North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh, a major rally will take place from 12:30-2:30 at the Halifax Mall behind the legislative building on Jones Street. Here in Pittsboro, NC a rally is schedule for 5:00 p.m. at the historic Courthouse circle with sign painting beginning at 4:00 p.m.

The September 20 Global Climate Strike is meant to be a “visual aid” in youth’s attempt to teach us all about the fierce urgency of this moment in time. It is a “power point” presentation urging humanity to make the radical choices and take the drastic actions needed to reverse our “business as usual” course on the road to climate chaos over the critical next decade. It is a “milestone” along a new trajectory that demands fundamental change in the moral fiber of the human family that has produced the climate crisis that threatens to end life as we have known it.

In the US, youth organizers from Earth Guardians, Earth Uprising, Extinction Rebellion Youth US, Fridays For Future, International Indigenous Youth Council, Sunrise, US Youth Climate Strike, and Zero Hour have created the following list of consensus-based demands.

We Demand:

  • A Green New Deal

    • Transform our economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 and phase out all fossil fuel extraction through a just and equitable transition, creating millions of good jobs

    • A halt to all leasing and permitting for fossil fuel extraction, processing and infrastructure projects immediately

  • Respect of Indigenous lands and sovereignty

    • Honor the treaties protecting Indigenous lands, waters, and sovereignty by the immediate halt of all construction, leasing, and permitting for resource extraction, processing and infrastructure projects affecting or on Indigenous lands

    • Recognize the Rights of Nature into law to protect our sacred ecosystems and align human law with natural law to ban resource extraction in defense of our environment and people

  • Environmental justice.

    • A transition that invests in prosperity for communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution

    • Welcoming those displaced by the cumulative effects of the climate crisis, economic inequality, violence, and lack of opportunity

  • Protection and restoration of biodiversity.

    • Protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans including a halt to all deforestation by 2030

  • Implementation of sustainable agriculture.

    • Investment in farmers and regenerative agriculture and an end to subsidies for industrial agriculture

In the words of Katie Eder, a 19-year-old climate justice activist, and the executive director of Future Coalition: “We know what we’re asking for goes beyond the scope of what’s been achieved so far, but that’s precisely why we’re demanding it. We have just 11 years left to cut global emissions in half, and to do that, we need to work together to make these demands a reality.”

The bottom line: Stop talking about Climate Change. Start acting on Climate Crisis! Now!