Orcas Island youth participated in a global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20 and walked out of school in protest of climate change.
According to Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old whose fire ignited a climate action explosion, 4,638 events were slated to take place in 139 countries on Sept. 20.
One of the many handmade signs at the strike, organized by Orcas Island High School seniors Arla Sutton and Birdie Greening, read “Sorry we are leaving you with such a mess,” however, young people all over the world are responding “that’s not good enough.” Mimi Diepenbrock and Berto Gándara Perea spoke on behalf of the movement, asking the crowd to have Mercy on the earth and all of its inhabitants.
The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states climate change is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. As of January 1, 2018, there are 12 years left to cut our global carbon dioxide emissions in half in order to have a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees celcius global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels.
Current scientific calculations do not include non-linear tipping points as well as most unforeseen feedback loops like the powerful methane gas escaping from rapidly thawing arctic permafrost or already locked in warming hidden by toxic air pollution. The United States is the biggest carbon polluter in history as well as the world’s number one polluter of oil. The U.S. is also the only country in the world to signal strong intentions to leave the Paris Agreement because “it was a bad deal to the USA.”
During the open mic portion of the event on Friday, a man took to the stage and asked: “If you had to pick one, which do you pick? The profit system or the human race?”
The event concluded with an Eastsound beach clean up. Another climate strike will take place in the Village Green on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 1-4 p.m.
Photos by Laura Kussman and Corey Wiscomb.