Strike in 2019, Vote in 2020

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Weeki Wachee — Tomorrow, across the globe, young people will be striking for the climate. In order to raise awareness of the severity of the climate crisis and hold the ostensible adults-in-the-room accountable, people will be walking out of their homes, classes, and jobs to say enough is enough. Those who will be impacted by climate change the most are tired of asking. We are demanding action.

The measurable objectives of the Climate Strike are straightforward. We need a Green New Deal that aggressively and equitably transitions our economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, creating millions of good paying, union jobs. The Green New Deal is a job creator that will phase out all fossil fuel extraction to limit rising temperatures as the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a damning report detailing the death and devastation that will be caused by extraction and rising temperatures. 

We seek mass public transit systems. We seek to honor the treaties respecting Indigenous land, water, and sovereignty. We seek to welcome those displaced and in need due to the climate crisis. We seek to invest resources into frontline communities facing poverty and pollution. We seek the protection of our planet’s biodiversity. We seek an end to deforestation and fracking. We seek a sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and the elimination of toxic and cruel factory farming. 

As a coastal community, Hernando County should be at the forefront of fighting climate change. We are already dealing with the effects every day. We see single-use plastics strewn about our streets and waterways, and the increasing temperatures baking pedestrians waiting without shade at a bus stop. We pay more for our electric bills each summer. The people of Hernando lacking shelter have to brave strengthening hurricanes, and the families along our coastline are eating the cost of sea-level rise, while the environmental degradation continues in the search for evermore mining profits. Each of these issues are connected, and there is so much more. This is a systemic problem, and we need systemic solutions. 

We ask that teachers do not penalize students who wish to walk out of their classes and strike. Many of these students cannot yet vote, even when the stakes affect them the most.  This year, we strike with young folks. Next year, we vote on their behalf.