To the Editor:
On March 15, over 125 people gathered at the MDI YWCA as part of the Climate Strike, an international day of action to demand immediate governmental action to stop climate change.
While we are grateful that the Islander mentioned the MDI Climate Strike in the March 21 issue, we found the brief characterization of our event to be misleading in several ways.
First, the Islander stated that the purpose of the Climate Strike was “to protest perceived government inaction on climate change.” The inaction of governments on climate change is a fact, not a matter of opinion. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, weakened standards for greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, and rescinded President Obama’s rule limiting power plant emissions.
The bottom line is that emissions rose 3.4 percent in 2018, the biggest increase in eight years, according to a recent report by the Rhodium Report, an independent research organization. That governments have failed to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an unarguable fact.
Second, the Islander chose “Earth Voices” as the headline for the short piece on the Climate Strike. That’s cute, but it’s also condescending. It strikes us as an oddly dismissive way to refer to a well-attended local event that was part of an international day of action in which 1.5 million students participated.
The phrase “Earth Voices” might have been a well-intended reference to the environmental movement. But this misses the mark. For us, climate change is an issue of justice. We demand action because of the accelerating effects of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of people all over the globe.
The U.S. and other advanced economies are disproportionately responsible while the harms of a changed climate will be felt disproportionately by people in other countries, as well as those from poor and/or marginalized communities in the U.S.
We organized the Climate Strike event because we are scared that our generation may not have a future.
Third, the Islander incorrectly stated that the Climate Strike took place at the YMCA. In fact, it occurred at the YWCA. We are grateful to the YWCA for making the space available to us on short notice.
We offer our thanks to everyone, young and old, who came out to support the Climate Strike. We are more energized than ever to build a strong movement for climate justice. We hope that future coverage from the Islander will give a fuller accounting of our work on MDI and contextualize it as part of a growing international youth-led movement.