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Sonoma County high school students organize to demand action on climate change

Nashelly Chavez & Kevin Fixler, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

High school students from across Sonoma County walked out of classes Friday and converged in Petaluma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa to join youth-led demonstrations worldwide demanding action in what activists call a global climate crisis.

Tens of thousands of students across the country are expected to participate in the coordinated March 15, grassroots rallies, NPR reported.

In Santa Rosa, about 150 students from across the North Bay and supporters waived homemade signs during a noon march from Old Courthouse Square to City Hall. An open mic session preceded the short, chant-filled walk, where organizers and others skipping school sang songs, read poems and gave environmentally-charged speeches to encourage protecting the earth and accepting the science behind climate change.

“It’s ridiculous, we’ve got to face the facts,” said Lea Fabian-Davies, 17, a senior at Petaluma High School. “We need to save the bees. We need clean oceans. Every small step counts.”

Four local teens, all part of a fellowship program run by the Bay Area chapter of 350, a global environmental group that supports reducing carbon dioxide emissions and investing in clean energy, organized Sebastopol’s rally planned for the town’s Central Park at 12:30 p.m., said Eleanor Jaffe, 17, one of the organizers.

“We need to act fast and have huge action to ensure a future for generations to come,” said Jaffe, a senior at Analy High School. “I think Sebastopol has long been a hub for environmental change and people in our community are excited and engaged about what’s happening environmentally.”

Momentum for today’s protests began last summer with Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who during a speech at the United Nations climate change summit in December told a group of world leaders that they were not doing enough to stop climate change.

Another driver of the youth rallies in the United States is garnering support for the New Green Deal, legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, in February that aims to combat climate change by transitioning to sustainable energy.

Source: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9394979-181/sonoma-county-high-school-students?sba=AAS

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The climate change generation wants to be heard

Rebecca Leber, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

In 2040, Haven Coleman will be 33 years old. Having grown up in Colorado, she may have left the state to attend college or start her career, but wherever she goes will be a stunningly different world from the one she inhabits today.

The planet will have already warmed past one scary threshold — 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial averages — and will be fast approaching the even more frightening mark of 2 degrees Celsius, long considered a catastrophic marker by the global community. Even at 1.5 degrees, there will likely be tens of millions of climate refugees from regions that have become uninhabitable because of heat, flooding, or extreme weather; fragile coral reefs may be nearly decimated; while recurrent flooding, excessive heat, and a constant risk of wildfires will pose an everyday threat to stability in some of the world’s biggest cities.

Not quite yet 13 years old, Coleman is painfully aware of what awaits her generation should there be continued government and social inaction in addressing the perils of a warming planet. “I’ve grown up with climate change,” Coleman told me. “I’ve grown up listening and hearing about climate change. I’m fighting for my future.”

She is one of the school-age protesters who will be skipping classes Friday to join in protests in more than 1,600 school strikes across 100 countries. Students are joining in, inspired by the example of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, who has been striking most Fridays since 2018 to demand political leaders’ attention. The hashtag, #FridaysForFuture has caught on in other countries, like Australia where 200 young people demonstrated in November.

In the U.S., the movement, which is made up of mostly teenage girls, has expanded from a few lone protesters missing school on some Fridays to a nationwide, all-day Youth Climate Strike. Coleman teamed up with 16-year-old Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Minnesota Rep. Imar Oman, and 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor of New York City. Their demands are for the U.S. to embrace the principles underlying the Green New Deal, provide better education on climate change, and connect all government decisions to scientific research.

Read more at https://www.hcn.org/articles/climate-desk-the-climate-change-generation-wants-to-be-heard?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email