In response to an increasing global climate emergency, the United Nations will hold a “Climate Action Summit 2019” in New York City starting on September 23. The call for the summit declares climate change is the “defining issue of our time” and that now is the moment to do something about it. At the World Economic Forum in Davos this summer, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, demanded immediate action to reverse climate change, declaring “Our house is on fire.” Starting Friday September 20 and lasting for a week, students around the world at every academic level will demand immediate climate action to save humanity and life on the planet with strikes on September 20 and 27. There will be rallies at the United Nations headquarters in New York City and in over 150 other countries. Organizers call on teachers, parents, and other adults to support and participate in the actions.
Watch a video featuring Greta Thunberg promoting student action. On the video, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, adds "Young people have been leading here, but now it's the job of the rest of us to back them up."
- Sign a pledge to support climate action and student strikes.
- The Zinn Education Project also asks teachers to sign a pledge to teach about climate justice in conjunction with the student strikes.
Teachers are asked to sign an open letter declaring their support for student actions and that they will use their classrooms to educate about the climate emergency. The letter states “Unsustainable development, powered by the fossil-fuel economy, is disrupting our global climate. Through our actions, we humans threaten non-human species, ecosystems, and human societies. Moreover, under rampant global inequality, people who have suffered racial, colonial, and economic marginalization bear the brunt of the damage. Regrettably, our institutions have often been part of the problem.” Signees “hope that millions of educators worldwide will commit to act with urgency and solidarity by leaving our classrooms together on September 20. After all, opportunities for learning abound in this unprecedented moment of global action. Let us use the power of collective action to help raise the political will necessary to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge; to learn from and inspire one another; and to support our students and all people as they use their learning to create a sustainable future for all. Above all, let us find ways to focus our collective determination on the global threat that defines this time.”
The scale of the climate emergency increases daily. Deforestation fires are decimating the Amazon rainforest, Central Africa, Siberia, and Indonesia. Not only do the fires release additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but they destroy trees that reduced greenhouse gases.
In the United States, the anti-environment Trump administration is eliminating restrictions on methane pollution by the petroleum industry. Methane gas is an even more potent contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide. It is also opening up Arctic lands in Alaska for oil production.
Greta is right. Our house is on fire. The world cannot delay. That is why I support the student climate protests. I will join student strikers on September 20 and 27 and I pledge to teach about the climate emergency in my classes.
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