Yesterday I attended the 350.org led planning meeting for the Bellingham Climate Strike to be held on September 20, 2019. The climate strikes were started by the ever proactive Greta Thunberg who led a movement of high school students in giving strong messages that the world is, in fact, on fire and if we are to have a future we cannot go about our business as usual. We must strike–for the climate, for a future, for the plant–we must strike.
There has been a strong response with a global movement growing. Some areas,
such as Seattle, have students striking every Friday (#fridaysforafuture). However, youth in the movement have urged adults to not wait for them. In areas where the climate strikes have gaps, they have urged adult led organizations to take up the slack. 350 Bellingham is spearheading the Bellingham Climate Strike this September 20, 2019.
350 is an “international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.” Their website has 3 clearly stated goals of:
- A Fast & Just Transition to 100% Renewable Energy for All.
- No New Fossil Fuel Projects Anywhere.
- Not a Penny More for Dirty Energy.
There was talk at the meeting about how we can’t wait till the most privileged our impacted. Our climate justice work has to center those who are already having their lives severely disrupted. Two students from the Northwest Indian College stressed to the group the necessity of decolonizing the work for climate change. They described how their home communities were first and often most severely impacted. Their ways of life and survival were already being taken away by polluted water, disrupted salmon spanning, and by rising sea levels on reserve land.
Perhaps aptly, I was very sick for the meeting itself. The air quality has been going down in Bellingham and, while it’s off the radar for most, I am already dizzy and nauseous and fatigued. Indigenous, migrant, and disabled people must take center stage in our current work for climate justice. As it was stressed by the students, the most impacted communities must be invited to have their cultures and voices forefront throughout the process (not just as attendees).
One of the two students from NWIC was in a breakout group with me and she
urged everyone to reach out to Lummi elders to do a land acknowledgement but not to stop there. Have the Blackfoot dancers been specifically invited to shape the fabric of the event, she asked? Have Lummi canoe families been asked to be part of setting the terms and issues emphasized? Is Lummi school being given primacy? She urged everyone to reach out but not just for the event and beyond. Are folks able to attend the Northwest Indian College club days? To attend events at the college and on Lummi Nation? I am committed to building these relationships in my work to help plan the Bellingham Climate Strike for September 20, 2019.
Can you join us? The next planning meeting will be this coming Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30. Location TBA. I’ll post back here as soon as a location is confirmed. The climate strikes are happening around the globe September 20-27. You can find the event nearest you here. Let’s tell the world that this is an emergency!