Randal MacDonald, Redwood Chapter Chapter Climate & Energy Committee Chair
Here in the Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter, we are developing the Climate Protectors program, and we invite you to get involved. Please join the climate conversation by signing up for our discussion group at: http://sierraclub.org/redwood/climate-committee-contact-form.
It can be rather daunting to realize the historic significance of the times we are living in. You and I were born into an era in which the future of humankind — indeed the future of life on Earth itself — is being put at greater and greater risk by humanity’s increasingly harmful impacts upon our precious planet.
As the United Nations reported in November, civilization is failing to meet the goals for reducing our fossil fuel pollution that we set in the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. The consequences of our global warming can already be seen all around us, and things will only get worse, especially if we fail to act now by dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate clock is ticking.
Scientists tell us that our actions in this decade to address the climate crisis will determine Earth’s livability for generations to come. Yet, as national governments like our own and too many others fall short of cutting carbon pollution sufficiently, many people say that they feel helpless, hopeless or too caught up in their own lives to be able to do anything about this alarming situation.
Perhaps for this very reason, a new prophet has emerged upon the world stage to remind us that our destiny is in our own hands and demand that we rise to face the challenge that these times present to us. Her name is Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old student from Sweden, who learned about the climate and environmental crises in school, then realized with shock as she looked around that the world’s governments are not doing what is needed to stop them.
So, while still keeping up with her studies, Thunberg began a school strike, protesting outside the Swedish Parliament each Friday to demand that lawmakers take real action to protect the world she is growing up in.
At first, few paid any attention to Thunberg, but nevertheless, she persisted.
After a while, other students were inspired by her example and began school strikes in various parts of the world, including Northern California, and political leaders started to notice this nascent mass movement demanding a livable world.
Then, on Sept. 20, 2019, the SchoolStrike4Climate that Thunberg launched many months earlier culminated in the largest mass protest ever seen in the history of the world. More than 4 million people went on strike across the globe that day to demand real action to protect our climate and the environment.
Thunberg has since made dramatic appeals to the United Nations and in many other venues, and young people around the world are rising up, unwilling to accept a status quo that will doom their futures.
What we must learn from this is that each of us has more power than we realize. We can change the world when we take a stand, working together with others, to face the climate crisis head on.
Here in the Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter, we are developing the Climate Protectors program to do just that, and we invite you to get involved.
In the next printed issue (Spring 2020) of this Redwood Needles, we will formally launch Climate Protectors, but there’s no need for you to wait until then. Please join our climate conversation by signing up for our discussion group at: http://sierraclub.org/redwood/climate-committee-contact-form.