Greta Thunberg Launches ‘Talks For Future’ As Climate Strikes Continue Online

Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg speaks during a “Youth Strike 4 Climate” protest march on March 6, 2020 in Brussels.  AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Topline: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has found a quarantine-compliant way to continue leading young people in climate activism. The 17-year-old activist has announced a new initiative: a series of weekly webinars titled “Talks For Future.”

    • The digital events will start from Friday, March 27, at 2 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. EST) and will feature climate experts such as scientists, activists and journalists to carry on the spirit of the climate strikes online.
    • Activist and author Naomi Klein is among the first speakers to appear on the webinar on Friday, along with Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, climate change and health leader for the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • Despite schools closing down across much of the world, young activists like Thunberg have still been showing up for digital climate strikes on social media every Friday, posting pictures of themselves holding up signs demanding action to protect the environment.

Annika Kruse
@_AnnikaKruse
Striking with activists from all over the world! We stand in solidarity with all the people affected by the #CoronaCrisis and #ClimateStrikeOnline to prevent its further spreading.

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8:42 AM · Mar 20, 2020


Key quote: “Excited to participate in the first #TalksForFuture tomorrow, a plan hatched by @GretaThunberg and other young climate strikers who are unable to engage in their usual Friday demonstrations,” Naomi Klein tweeted on Thursday in support of the initiative.

Tangent: Thunberg told her millions of social media followers on Thursday she had been self-isolating for the past two weeks after returning home from a three-week trip in Central Europe. She said she reported symptoms associated with coronavirus, such as a fever and a cough. While she could not get tested for COVID-19 since Sweden is limiting tests to those in need of emergency medical treatment, she said it was “extremely likely” that she’s had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. She added she has since recovered and she called on other young people to act responsibly as not to infect vulnerable people, staying at home and following expert medical advice.

Key Background: Since her first solitary school strike in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2018, Thunberg has inspired millions of people in joining school climate strikes known as “FridaysForFuture.” The activist, who chooses not to fly for her travels, has addressed several high-profile events such as the United Nations General Assembly, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and more recently the European Parliament’s climate committee to demand leaders take firm and urgent action to address climate change. SOURCE

Greta Thunberg Supports Activists Rallying For Wet’suwet’en In BC (PHOTOS)

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Antonello Marangi | Dreamstime Jason Hargrove | Flickr

As tensions continue to escalate between Coastal GasLink protestors and the Canadian government, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has shared her support for the Wet’suwet’en cause. Taking to Twitter to speak out against the pipeline construction, Thunberg shared a photo of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en protests. The 17-year-old wrote, “Indigenous rights = Climate justice.”

Greta Thunberg has made her position on B.C.’s pipeline construction clear by posting her support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s protests.

Retweeting a post from a Vancouver-based climate activist, Thunberg wrote, “Indigenous rights = Climate justice.” She added, “#WetsuwetenStrong, #KeepItInTheGround.”

Her post came in response to the news that Indigenous youth had been protesting outside of the BC Legislature in Victoria for more than 26 hours, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, reports Global News.

The Indigenous nation has been opposing the new Coastal GasLink since December, when the B.C. Supreme Court granted the pipeline an expanded injunction.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not given their consent to the new construction project, and have accused the company of violating their traditional laws.

Within two hours, Thunberg’s tweet got more than 8,000 likes.

On Friday, Thunberg shared another clip from the B.C. protests, retweeting a video of a supporter shutting down the intersection of Metcalfe and Slater.

The disagreement between the two groups continues to cause disruption across Canada, blocking ferries in B.C. and Via Rail train routes in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

On Thursday six people were arrested by the RCMP, for refusing to evacuate the pipeline construction site, reports Global.

This isn’t the first time this week that Thunberg has spoken out about Canadian environmental politics.

On Thursday, the activist shared an article from The Guardian that was highly critical of Justin Trudeau’s climate action.

Quoting the article in her post, Thunberg wrote, “If an alcoholic assured you he was taking his condition very seriously, but also laying in a 40-year store of bourbon, you’d be entitled to doubt his sincerity.”

Their statement said, “The Dinï ze’ and Ts’akë ze’ continue to resist colonial and gendered violence against Wet’suwet’en people, and to protect Wet’suwet’en lands for future generations.” SOURCE

Thunberg says only ‘eight years left’ to avert 1.5°C warming

Climate change is a top priority at the Davos meeting for policymakers and business leaders though Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement

Photo: Anders Hellberg/Wikimedia)

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg called on Tuesday for far tougher action to limit climate change, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos the world has just eight years left to avert severe warming.

Thunberg, 17, speaking on a Davos panel with three other youth delegates from around the world, also expressed doubts that the world could develop technologies in coming decades to suck carbon dioxide from thin air to limit rising temperatures.

“A lot,” she said, when asked what she wanted in the coming year or so. “Especially that we start listening to the science and that we treat this crisis as the crisis it is.”

Governments are due to meet in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, seeking to ratchet up the ambition of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The deal aims to limit warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, while pursuing efforts for a tougher ceiling of 1.5°C

Climate change tops risks for world in 2020 – Davos report

Thunberg said there was only eight years left at current levels of emissions to keep temperatures below 1.5°C. Average global temperatures are about 1.1°C above pre-industrial times, according to the United Nations. And the rise is causing more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, wildfires and rising sea levels.

Climate change is a top priority at the Davos meeting for policymakers and business leaders although US President Donald Trump, who is also attending, is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement. He frequently doubts mainstream climate science.

Extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters top most likely risks to the global economy in 2020, according to the survey for the World Economic Forum among business leaders, investors and policy-makers.

Thunberg and other youth activists on the panel did not mention Trump by name.

Thunberg quoted a table on page 108 of a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says the world can emit only 420 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from January 2018 to have a likely, or 67% chance, of keeping temperatures below 1.5°C

Erosion crisis swallows homes and livelihoods in Nigeria

“With today’s emissions levels the remaining budget is gone within less than eight years,” she said. She noted that current emissions were about 42 billion tonnes a year, meaning a remaining budget in 2020 of about 340 billion tonnes.

“Every fraction of a degree matters,” she said.

And she said that the IPCC scenario did not include “tipping points”, sudden changes for instance that Greenland´s ice sheet could start an irreversible thaw or that tropical waters could get too hot for coral reefs.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last year urged world leaders to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 to get on track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

Thunberg noted that few scenarios used by the IPCC reckoned such deep cuts were likely to happen.

“Most models assume that future generations will somehow be able to suck hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 out of the air with technologies that do not exist today at the scale required, and perhaps never will,” she said.

Thunberg said that global awareness about climate change had surged in the past year, spurred by youth activists around the world. But the pressure to cut emissions had not yet translated into policy.

“From a bigger perspective, basically nothing (has happened) … it will require much more than this, this is the very beginning,” she said. SOURCE

‘What will you tell your children?’: Greta Thunberg blasts climate inaction at Davos


Greta Thunberg told a World Economic Forum panel on climate that activists were demanding an end to all investment in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, calling for a drastic reduction of emissions to zero. She dismissed some of the measures mooted by governments and companies, such as planting billions of trees to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Her comments came after Donald Trump announced the US joined the global 1 trillion tree initiative Davos 2020: Greta Thunberg says ‘world is on fire’ and blasts leaders’ climate inaction. SOURCE

 

 

Juliana v. US: Hardly Child’s Play

Image result for resilience: Juliana v. US: Hardly Child’s Play

Lead photo courtesy of Our Children’s Trust/#YOUTHGOV#YOUTHVGOV

More than four years ago, 21 youthful plaintiffs asked a federal court to rule a habitable environment a protected right under the US Constitution. On January 17, 2020, a divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals told them they didn’t have standing to pursue their case and that there was nothing the court could do to redress the legitimate harms they had suffered:

Reluctantly, we conclude that such relief is beyond our constitutional power. Rather, the plaintiffs’ impressive case for redress must be presented to the political branches of government.

Early on, Juliana was often reported with a wink and a nod giving the impression that it was a feel-good human-interest story about kids. As it survived one legal challenge after another, the case came to be recognized for what it could be—the most important environmental case of all time equal in stature to Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation), Roe v. Wade (a woman’s right to an abortion), and Obergefell v. Hodges (the right of men and women to marry those they love even if of the same sex).

The environmental trial of the century now looks as if it is not meant to be. The young plaintiffs and their attorneys have announced their intention to petition for an en banc hearing by the full court of appeals to review the panel’s decision. Their only other option is to petition the US Supreme Court yet one more time. In a previous appeal, the high court noted that:

…the “breadth of respondents’ claims is striking… .and the justiciability of those claims presents substantial grounds for difference of opinion. (emphasis added)

Judicial opinions now seem to be lining up against the plaintiffs.

Two out of three is not enough

It is critical for climate activists to understand why a case succeeds or fails in the courtroom for two underlying reasons. The first is to carry the knowledge and experience forward when choosing the next case to pursue; the proposition is true whether the case just decided won or lost.

Legal decisions of constitutional consequence are rarely made within the confines of a single case. The outcome of most major suits depends on cumulative precedence and practices—known in law as the doctrine of stare decisis. What went before influences what comes after. As the dissenting judge noted in her opinion, however, constitutional vindication is often a slow churn.

The second reason an appreciation of the procedural and substantive aspects of a case is critical is to assay its potential value in a different court—that of public opinion. A procedural loss doesn’t mean the plaintiff wasn’t harmed or won’t continue to be. It means only that the defendant isn’t legally liable.

No liability is the cry of the Trump administration in Juliana. It is also the defense put forward by major oil companies in nuisance/tort suits like State of Rhode Island v Chevron et al.

Before a plaintiff is allowed to pursue a remedy in federal court, they must first establish they have the right, i.e., standing, to seek the court’s assistance. Standing is granted based on the answers to three questions:

  • Has the plaintiff suffered a concrete harm?
  • Is the harm the direct result of a defendant’s action?
  • Does the court have the power to redress the harm in some substantive manner?

Based on copious expert evidence the three-judge panel stated there could be little doubt that climate change is occurring or that it is harmful both to the planet and her people in ways ranging from rising sea levels and forest fires to more frequent and intense climate-related weather emergencies, e.g., hurricanes and droughts, all the while increasing rates of morbidity and mortality.

The panel–based on the evidence— further concluded that climate change is the consequence of fossil fuel production, extraction, and combustion and that the federal government has long understood the economic, health, and security risks associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions like CO2.

In the matter of standing, meeting two out of three of the requirements is not enough to win the day in federal court. All must be answered in the affirmative and, in this instance, a majority of the panel believed the court was powerless to redress the injuries.

The burden is on the plaintiffs to show that the relief they seek is both (1) substantially likely to redress their injuries; and (2) within an Article III court’s power to award. Redress need not be guaranteed, but it must be more than “merely speculative.” (emphasis added) The Article III reference is to the US Constitution. Article I enumerates legislative powers, while Article II those of the executive branch.

The Juliana plaintiffs are asking the court to order the government to cease permitting, authorizing, and subsidizing fossil fuel use, AND prepare a plan subject to judicial approval to draw down harmful emissions. These are not simple requests. The sheer magnitude of what would be required to grant the requested relief was not lost on the court.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiffs’ made plain that reducing the global consequences of climate change demands much more than cessation of the government’s promotion of fossil fuels. Rather, these experts opine that such a result calls for no less than a fundamental transformation of this country’s energy system, if not that of the industrialized world. (emphasis added)

In an admittedly ironic turn, the truthfulness of Juliana’s expert witnesses convinced the majority of the panel that it was just too big a job for the judiciary.

The majority opinion concludes by expressing the court’s certainty of climate science, the damage knowingly being done the planet by the government’s continued support of fossil fuels, and the moral responsibility of the legislative and executive branches to do something about it. The judges even concede that the broad judicial relief the plaintiffs seek could well goad the political branches into action.

Notwithstanding all of that, the majority judges conclude that courts cannot step in to remediate a problem caused by the abdication of responsibility of the two political branches of government.

Union is much older than the Constitution

Judge Josephine L. Staton writes in her dissenting opinion that the government accepts as fact that the United States has reached a tipping point crying out for a concerted response—yet presses ahead toward calamity.

Staton sees climate change as a threat to the nation’s existencephrasing the government’s arguments in the starkest of terms:

Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation. (emphasis added)

Judge Staton sees the seriousness of climate change, as testified to by the plaintiffs’ experts in depositions and written submissions, on par with the secession of southern states from the Union—placing this issue on an entirely different legal and moral plane.

While secession manifested the existential threat most apparently contemplated by the Founders—political dissolution of the Union—the underlying principle applies equally to its physical destruction. (emphasis added)

Staton is accusing her colleagues of hiding behind a technicality. She faults them for accepting the seriousness of the threat but throw[ing] up their hands, concluding that this case presents nothing fit for the Judiciary.

Staton recognizes that there are times when the judicial branch has the constitutional obligation to intervene where the political branches run afoul of our foundational principlesOne of these principles is preserving the union against threats of clearly irreversible consequences—whether political or physical.

A second principle involves the nature of the right to be protected. Staton quotes the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell:

…the Due Process Clause, enshrined in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, also safeguards certain “interests of the person so fundamental that the [government] must accord them its respect.” (emphasis added)

Here, Staton defines respect as answering the standing requirements of an actual harm suffered at the hands of the defendant.

As to the matter of the court’s ability to redress the harms done to the plaintiffs, Staton references the doctrine of judicial review that compels federal courts to fashion relief to right legal wrongs. Unlike her colleagues, Staton does not consider the court’s incapacity to afford the plaintiffs a total remedy as a reason not to fashion some sort of meaningful relief.

Plaintiffs have asked the court to order the administration to prepare a plan for drawing down greenhouse gases to within safe levels as determined by science. The federal government has the resources in place to produce an emissions reduction plan.

Much of this work has already been done and at the direction of the political branches. The Fourth National Climate Assessment documents vulnerabilities, risks, and impacts associated with natural climate variability and human-caused climate change across the United States and provides examples of response actions underway in many communities. 

The Assessment is mandated by Congress. It is the work of 300 federal and non-federal experts—including individuals from federal, state, and local governments, tribes and Indigenous communities, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector. That Congress and the president have chosen to ignore the findings and recommendations of its scientists only supports the case for judicial intervention.

A court’s ordering a national government to urgently and significantly reduce emissions in line with its human rights obligations is not without precedent. The Dutch Supreme Court ordered its government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by the end of 2020. (Urgenda v. Netherlands)

Staton recognizes that the political branches must ultimately act—either on their own or at the direction of the judiciary—for the nation to have any chance of avoiding the worst consequences of Earth’s warming. Her interpretation of the Constitution and case law would allow the courts to goad recalcitrant lawmakers to action.

As eloquent as Judge Staton’s dissenting opinion is, her interpretation of the Constitution and case law is not shared by many others on the federal bench. Notwithstanding the benefit of a favorable ruling in Juliana, the fact is that the courts are ill-suited to the task of bringing about the fundamental transformation of the nation’s energy system.

Courts are slow to rule, and when they do, it remains the responsibility of the political branches to implement their orders. Juliana was first filed in 2015. The Urgender plaintiffs started their efforts in 2012.

A government in denial will continue to drag its feet and challenge any orders and rulings on procedural grounds, knowing that the science is not on their side. Time, as the majority in this most recent Juliana decision admits, is of the essence.

Whether or not Juliana is allowed to go forward, the evidentiary record it has created validates mainstream climate science and is proof that the Trump administration is fully cognizant of the causes and consequences of Earth’s warming but continues to deregulate the environment—going so far as wiping all references to climate change from the web pages of federal agencies.

Even before Greta Thunberg, there were the Juliana plaintiffs. Now with Thunberg and the millions more young climate champions who have been inspired by them, the fundamental right of all people to a habitable environment is being debated in the court of public opinion where moral responsibility will be harder to rule out of order. SOURCE

The Bright Star In A Year of Dire Climate Warnings

The Bright Star In A Year of Dire Climate Warnings. Below2C

The strongest message on Climate in 2019 did not come from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Nor did it come from climate scientists, or world leaders, or the Pope, or the United Nations. It came from 17-year old Greta Thunberg, Time Magazine’s person of the year for getting the world’s attention on the climate threat.
In the 17 months since Greta Thunberg began her climate strikes (August 2018), she has easily become the most influential climate leader on the planet. She has met with heads of state, addressed world leaders at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, governments of several countries — the United Kingdom, Ireland, The EU Parliament, the U.S Congress — and inspired millions to join the largest climate demonstration ever on September 20, 2019. Thunberg is synonymous with “climate strike” which was declared word of the year by Collins Dictionary. Her impact on the climate movement is immeasurable.David Roberts (writing in Vox) zeroes in on the primary reason for Greta’s success and appeal. “Thunberg has sidestepped attacks on her motives by almost entirely refraining from endorsing specific political reforms or policies,” writes Roberts. Greta simply says “I can’t really speak up about things like [politics]…no one would take me seriously.”

I want you to listen to the science

Greta wants world leaders to follow the science. Her insistence on this point was illustrated when she submitted the IPCC’s report on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in lieu of testifying to the US Congress. Attached was a short letter that said: “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.” Greta does not allow her actions to take center stage. She insists that science, not politics, must lead climate policy.

In Intelligencer, David Wallace-Wells writes about Greta’s “extraordinary rise…and her Hail Mary climate movement.” He points out that she’s “the Joan of Arc of climate change, commanding a global army of teenage activists numbering in the millions and waging a rhetorical war against her elders through the unapologetic use of generational shame.”

Greta’s language is impassioned, hot, direct and raw

The following Greta quotes have come to dominate the post-hope climate era we are now living in.

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children…Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. — COP 24 climate conference in Poland

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. — COP 24 climate conference in Poland

Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful; I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act, I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is. — World Economic Forum in Davos

I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action. — U.S. Congress

Living is a post-hope era

Greta Thunberg has emerged as the new climate guru in a post-hope world. The Paris Agreement promised to keep the warming of the planet well below 2 degrees Celsius and aim for 1.5 degrees. But recent reports show that landmasses have now passed 1.5 degrees and large sections of oceans have as well. As Wallace-Wells writes, “that ship had already sailed” by the time Greta reached New York after her carbon-free crossing of the Atlantic ocean.

Teen girls took over the climate movement. What happens next?

Greta Thunberg takes part in a climate strike in Montreal. September 27, 2019. Photography by The Canadian Press / Paul Chiasson

If you try to picture a climate activist over the past very long year, you will likely summon the image of a young girl. It’s not necessarily the stern Swedish one with pigtails. It could be the bespectacled daughter of one embattled Somali-American representative, the tall Latina from Seattle drenched and yelling at the first Youth Climate March, or a less nationally-known girl you happened to catch at the head of your local climate strike.

Whether you like it or not, the teenage girl has become the symbol of the climate movement. They have demanded to be seen, heard, and heeded, and they’ve at least gotten their way with the first two. There is a reason that Greta Thunberg, founder of the school climate strikes and not yet 17 years old, is Time’s Person of The Year and that Alexandria Villaseñor, the 14-year-old founder of Earth Uprising, spoke at COP25 in Madrid. Quannah Chasing Horse and Nanieezh Peter, 17 and 15, also traveled to Madrid to advocate for climate justice in their homeland of Alaska.

But it’s that third item on their wish list, that pesky “heeded” part, that remains elusive. Thunberg has insisted over and over again that she doesn’t want attention, she wants action. Villaseñor was horrified by the rather spectacular collapse of the international climate summit she crossed an ocean to attend. None of these girls is content with the mere spotlight, and rightfully so — they want leaders to make swift, meaningful overhauls to national economies and infrastructure, and that hasn’t happened.

A high school girl has a uniquely precarious place in American society. She doesn’t have a voice in the political system, but she’s depended upon heavily as a consumer. She gets the message that she should be empowered and confident and generally sans fucks, but the grown women she sees on Instagram are digitally and surgically altering everything from their rib cages to their cheekbones to look like composite Kardashians. She knows how to use social media to be heard, but she can also be tortured by it. And maybe most overwhelmingly of all, she knows that the world she’s going to grow up in is going to be much more chaotic than the one her parents expected, and she had no role in making it that way.

Hava Gordon, a sociologist at Denver University who studies gender and social movements, described a dynamic where teenage girls today are looking at the world they’ve been left and realizing they’re completely ostracized from the power structures that could change it. So they’re using what they can to get noticed, and it’s working pretty well.

“Most teenage activists don’t have the right to vote or run for office just yet,” she said. “So they’re harnessing media and social media in really interesting ways; they’re also finding their institutional leverage with schools and school strikes as well.”

Teenage girls have long been defined by their obsession of the hour — and long been the object of a good deal of American cultural obsession themselves. The current iteration is the VSCO girl, the Instagram-centric trend characterized by ‘90s-revival style and a surprising environmental ethic. Kate Aronoff reported on the VSCO girl’s climate enthusiasm for The Intercept in September and noted:

It’s not as if all VSCO Girls are sleeper climate champions. But as climate organizing has come to involve more and more people, it’s sucking the trends of the day up with it, as those trends in turn reflect the concerns and anxieties of the generation from which they’ve sprouted.

You see all kinds of variation in the way young women use the tools they have to be heard. Alexis Ren, the 23-year-old American Instagram model, has made a recent attempt to awaken the millions of followers devoted to her bikini shots to the destruction of coral reefs in the North Pacific. Meanwhile, Thunberg, who seems much more comfortable in a zip-up hoodie than a high-rise French cut, has certainly become the best-known girl climate activist in the country due in part to her savvy use of Twitter.

Thunberg’s prominence has only been boosted by one Twitter-obsessed president’s snide comments about her, where he characterizes her as a weird, petulant, tantrum-throwing child. (Even the least astute psychologist might be able to identify this as “projection,” but that’s neither here nor there.) And the young girl’s ascent has been accompanied by her very own religious iconography; in October, her face was painted across a building in San Francisco like a cathedral mural. She’s even released a short book of her speeches, a kind of pocket scripture for the modern-day climate disciple.

Thunberg has said she doesn’t want to be the center of attention; she just feels obligated to use her platform to advocate for change. It calls to mind an earlier pioneering environmental activist: Rachel Carson, who was 55 when she published Silent Spring in 1962. In What a Book Can Do: The Publication and Reception of Silent Spring, Priscilla Coit Murphy describes the writer and scientist’s desire to remove herself as a character from the conversation about her landmark journalistic work revealing the impacts of DDT. But despite the enigma Carson fought to maintain, she remained a focus of the press: “Carson herself was a classically appealing protagonist, despite her best efforts to remain private,” writes Murphy. “Much of the news coverage began with a description of her appearance and various qualities: ‘shy,’ ‘petite,’ ‘soft-spoken,’ or less felicitously, ‘spinster,’ or ‘bachelor biologist.’”

Movements of outspoken women have been fascinating to the public at the very least since suffragettes, and that fascination runs the gamut from religious adoration to cruel denigration. And yet many social justice efforts throughout history have been predominantly women-led; the most recent examples are the Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 movements. Why women? Gordon describes a theory that we’re socialized to mind the home — keep things orderly, functional, and pretty — and that that cultivated instinct carries over to, well, the entire world.

But the suffragettes were doing their thing over a hundred years ago; this is not new! I asked Gordon why the surge of teen girl climate activists seems so novel. She mentioned two things: They’re younger than most women leaders before them, and we continue to be surprised by women who lead social movements because we don’t see that dynamic represented in the halls of power. Just under a quarter of Congressional representatives are women, and just under 30 percent of state-level elected officials are women.

“You can look at a teenage boy activist and think, ‘He’s gonna be president or a senator, this is good practice for him!’” said Gordon. “But the public doesn’t look at young women and girls that way.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a notable exception to the accepted model of legislator: young, female, Latina, internet–fluent, and, of course, unapologetically outspoken. She’s also been a vocal advocate for both young teen climate activists and comprehensive and transformative climate legislation.

But despite the fact that Ocasio-Cortez is now a household name whose likeness can be found riding a unicorn on a coffee mug, she’s still up against a largely old, white, male Congress that’s resistant to the kind of systemic transformation she and millions of young climate activists would love to see.

Girl activists rose to prominence in 2019 and captured the world’s attention. As they grow into women activists — and maybe politicians — over this year and the coming ones, I would love nothing more than to see them capture some of its power.  SOURCE

 

OPINION: The most courageous climate action isn’t national, it’s in the cities and streets

Image result for OPINION: The most courageous climate action isn't national, it's in the cities and streets

High school students hold placards and shout slogans during a protest to demand action on climate change as part of the Global Climate Srike of the movement Fridays for the Future in Athens in Athens, Greece, Nov 29, 2019. REUTERS/Alixis Konstandindis

It’s time to support young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter.

What happened in Madrid at the U.N. climate talks seemed like a giant game of chicken with no one willing to move. Actually, it was more like collective breakdown. Leadership by the top four largest emitters was completely absent.

China and the U.S. brought no new proposals to ratchet up their reduction of emissions. India argued for a deadline extension. Europe showed signs of leadership on net zero emissions, but its member countries, notably Poland and the Czech Republic, are holding the EU hostage, waiting for a big payout for their consent.

Sure, there were important little things that happened, but not the big things we need if we’re to preserve a hospitable planet.

A courageous group of countries, including Denmark, other Nordics, and Canada, announced intentions to adopt science-based targets. That’s a start. We are told that this group, along with 15 others, are ready to announce a net zero commitment early next year and that they plan to rally others to join them. Europe’s net zero agreement could come by March.

That’s better than nothing. And, in some ways, it’s similar to the momentum-building we witnessed at the Paris climate talks in 2015. There, a coalition of countries rallied others to keep warming targets to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, which is what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst of climate chaos.

But we’re nowhere near that target. Current national commitments would allow for warming of 3.2-degrees Celsius. The difference between 1.5 and 3.2 degrees is the difference between livability and ongoing catastrophes for the planet, millions of its species, and human communities.

This is where Greta Thunberg’s rage – and many others’ – is spot on. This is a horrendous failure on the part of national leaders.

That’s why we hoped we could rally national governments in Madrid to commit to more ambitious measures to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.

Our window is closing. This moment – between the Paris climate talks in 2015 and the end of 2020 – is when national governments are supposed to proclaim goals that collectively keep the planet to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temps, instead of 3.2 degrees.

And the only way we’ll be able to do that is if we agree to a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. That would require all four big emitters to set stronger long-term goals.

What’s holding them back, of course – in China, the U.S., India and Europe – are their fossil fuel industry interests and fossil-invested financial partners.

Meanwhile, everyone else gets it. Cities, states, regions, businesses, and youth get it. Leaders from each rallied as hard as they could in Madrid.

The city, state, and corporate determination to act is so inspiring. (Check out the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s game changers as just one example of the leadership here.) This community has grown by leaps and bounds since Paris. They’ve shown creativity and purpose in proposing their own levels of ambition required to solve the climate crisis.

Most inspiring of all, though, were the hundreds of youth that demonstrated inside Madrid’s conference center, on behalf of millions of youth demonstrating globally this year, demanding their elders do better. They are a powerful rebuke to fossil fuel interests and their bankers. In Madrid, their courage – when they were forcibly removed from UN climate talks, shoved out of the building, and banned from re-entering – is deeply inspiring. Imagine if presidents and prime ministers were this courageous.

Going forward, this is where the most interesting climate action will be. Youth leaders, discouraged by the lack of government response to the climate emergency, are training their sights on bad corporate actors. Woe to fossil fuel and banking executives who face demonstrations by Greta and her peers in the coming year.

She won’t be alone. We all need to stand with Greta outside financial and fossil fuel industry corporate offices, holding their feet to the fire. And governments must listen, too, and show up at the next climate talks with plans to avoid more than a 1.5-degree level of warming. Otherwise, these kids, and the rest of us, are toast.

It’s time to support these young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter. SOURCE

The most courageous climate action isn’t national, it’s in the cities and streets

“It’s time to support young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter.”

Image result for The most courageous climate action isn't national, it's in the cities and streets

High school students hold placards and shout slogans during a protest to demand action on climate change as part of the Global Climate Strike of the movement Fridays for Future in Athens, Greece, November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

What happened in Madrid at the U.N. climate talks seemed like a giant game of chicken with no one willing to move. Actually, it was more like collective breakdown. Leadership by the top four largest emitters was completely absent.

China and the U.S. brought no new proposals to ratchet up their reduction of emissions. India argued for a deadline extension. Europe showed signs of leadership on net zero emissions, but its member countries, notably Poland and the Czech Republic, are holding the EU hostage, waiting for a big payout for their consent.

Sure, there were important little things that happened, but not the big things we need if we’re to preserve a hospitable planet.

A courageous group of countries, including Denmark, other Nordics, and Canada, announced intentions to adopt science-based targets. That’s a start. We are told that this group, along with 15 others, are ready to announce a net zero commitment early next year and that they plan to rally others to join them. Europe’s net zero agreement could come by March.

That’s better than nothing. And, in some ways, it’s similar to the momentum-building we witnessed at the Paris climate talks in 2015. There, a coalition of countries rallied others to keep warming targets to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, which is what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst of climate chaos.

But we’re nowhere near that target. Current national commitments would allow for warming of 3.2-degrees Celsius. The difference between 1.5 and 3.2 degrees is the difference between livability and ongoing catastrophes for the planet, millions of its species, and human communities.

This is where Greta Thunberg’s rage – and many others’ – is spot on. This is a horrendous failure on the part of national leaders.

That’s why we hoped we could rally national governments in Madrid to commit to more ambitious measures to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.

Our window is closing. This moment – between the Paris climate talks in 2015 and the end of 2020 – is when national governments are supposed to proclaim goals that collectively keep the planet to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temps, instead of 3.2 degrees.

And the only way we’ll be able to do that is if we agree to a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. That would require all four big emitters to set stronger long-term goals.

What’s holding them back, of course – in China, the U.S., India and Europe – are their fossil fuel industry interests and fossil-invested financial partners.

Meanwhile, everyone else gets it. Cities, states, regions, businesses, and youth get it. Leaders from each rallied as hard as they could in Madrid.

The city, state, and corporate determination to act is so inspiring. (Check out the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s game changers as just one example of the leadership here.) This community has grown by leaps and bounds since Paris. They’ve shown creativity and purpose in proposing their own levels of ambition required to solve the climate crisis.

Most inspiring of all, though, were the hundreds of youth that demonstrated inside Madrid’s conference center, on behalf of millions of youth demonstrating globally this year, demanding their elders do better. They are a powerful rebuke to fossil fuel interests and their bankers. In Madrid, their courage – when they were forcibly removed from UN climate talks, shoved out of the building, and banned from re-entering – is deeply inspiring. Imagine if presidents and prime ministers were this courageous.

Going forward, this is where the most interesting climate action will be. Youth leaders, discouraged by the lack of government response to the climate emergency, are training their sights on bad corporate actors. Woe to fossil fuel and banking executives who face demonstrations by Greta and her peers in the coming year.

She won’t be alone. We all need to stand with Greta outside financial and fossil fuel industry corporate offices, holding their feet to the fire. And governments must listen, too, and show up at the next climate talks with plans to avoid more than a 1.5-degree level of warming. Otherwise, these kids, and the rest of us, are toast.

It’s time to support these young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter. SOURCE

 

Jane Fonda speaks to CBC’s Susan Ormiston

Actor Jane Fonda tells CBC’s Susan Ormiston who inspired her to protest again and what she learned from her earlier agitating years.

Image result for cbc: Jane Fonda speaks to CBC's Susan Ormiston

WATCH THE VIDEO

Jane Fonda talks protest, arrest — and why she wants another night in jail

‘It’s quite an experience to know that you are powerless’

Jane Fonda is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers during a Fire Drill Friday climate change protest Nov. 1. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Jane Fonda’s hoping for an unusual birthday present — another night in a Washington, D.C., jail.

The award-winning actress and businesswoman has decamped to Washington from Los Angeles to protest against climate change.

“I decided I needed to leave my comfort zone and put my body on the line, engage in civil disobedience and risk getting arrested because we need to step up with bolder actions. It’s a real crisis,” she told CBC’s Susan Ormiston.

Fire Drill Fridays were inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Since Sept. 27, Fonda has joined a group of protesters engaging in civil disobedience; she’s been arrested four times and jailed once, overnight.

“It’s quite an experience to know that you are powerless, that you have been handcuffed and that you were completely in the control of the police,” she said.

“Because I’m white and famous, I’m not going to be treated badly.”

She said her jailers couldn’t believe she was there voluntarily. She admits the power of protest will not change policy overnight but she brings “celebrity,” which is important, she says, to motivate others to act on their convictions and get out to protest the climate crisis.

Watch an excerpt of Susan Ormiston’s interview with Jane Fonda:

Jane Fonda has been arrested four times in recent weeks for protesting climate change. “I’m following in the steps of young people,” she tells The National’s Susan Ormiston. 2:09

Jane Fonda has been arrested four times in recent weeks for protesting climate change. “I’m following in the steps of young people,” she tells The National’s Susan Ormiston. 2:09

Fonda is no stranger to activism. Over 50 years she’s demonstrated for women’s and Indigenous rights, and against the Iraq war and Alberta’s oilsands.

She was first arrested in the early 1970s for her opposition to the war in Vietnam. She was dubbed Hanoi Jane after posing with the North Vietnamese and later apologized. But back then, she was seen as a disruptor and was apprehended crossing into the U.S. from Canada.

“You know, the more they attacked me, the more I dug in my heels. If they thought I was some soft Hollywood starlet daughter of Henry Fonda and they could bully me, no, I wasn’t gonna let them get me. I just kept going,” she told CBC.

Does she still feel that way?

“Oh yeah,” says Fonda, “Only see, now I’m old and so I feel even more capable of standing up.”

She just might celebrate her 82nd birthday this Saturday locked up again.

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