Media Release: "Youth Announce Three Day Climate Strike Launching On Earth Day"

Press Release can be found at Youth Climate Strike

#StrikeWithUs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2020
CONTACT: Dillon Bernard | media@strikewithus.org

Youth Announce Three Day Climate Strike Launching On Earth Day

— Across the U.S, the Events Will Take Place From the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, until April 24–

In 100 days, young people and adults across the United States will come together for three days of youth-led climate action. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, will kick off three days of nationwide events, including strikes, marches, rallies, and teach-ins.

The US Youth Climate Strike Coalition, comprised of nine youth-led climate organizations, announced the plans for the three days of climate action through an op-ed signed by over 80 adult allies, including Jane Fonda, Secretary John Kerry, and Bill McKibben. The op-ed also highlights the importance of centering indigenous youth and youth of color, the need for multigenerational support in the climate movement, and the significance of uniting across movement during this critical election year.

The announcement comes as wildfires scorch Australia, killing 28 people and over a billion animals, and while floods blanket Indonesia, killing 66 people and displaced 400,000 more. Both ongoing events represent the role climate change has in intensifying disasters.

The three days of climate action, from April 22 to April 24, build on the momentum of the largest youth-led climate mobilization on September 20, 2019, when 650,000 people across the United States led strikes to call on elected officials to rise up and address the climate crisis. Across 1,300 events, September 20 was a call for elected officials and world leaders to address the climate crisis with swift and effective policies.

“Last year, we mobilized hundreds of thousands of people around climate action, making it clear that if our demands were not met, we would take our movement to the next level. We meant it. 2020 is the year we must usher in the decade of climate action to save the future of our generation, and every generation to come,” said Feliquan Charlemagne, Executive Director of US Youth Climate Strike.

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, youth and adults will participate in a powerful day of civic action, providing an opportunity to listen to the wisdom of Indigenous people, and reflect on personal connections to the earth. Earth Day serves as an open invitation for everyone to commit to making climate action a top priority in 2020 and beyond.

Thursday, April 23 is a day of community action, with voter registration drives and events occurring across the country. With support from the recently launched Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition, young people on college campuses will also be demanding their schools divest from fossil fuels, while adults will target financial institutions to do the same.

Friday, April 24 will be another massive strike day dedicated to collective power and unity. Millions of youth and adults will strike from school and work and take to the streets to participate in hundreds of events across the world.

“Across these three days of climate action, we are sending a clear message to the powerful about the need to prioritize our future over greed. To send the loudest message, we are asking everyone who can to join us for these intergenerational actions. Climate action must be a priority as we head into the 2020 election, and we are determined to carry the momentum of these multiple days of action into the voting booth,” said Marlow Baines, Youth Director of Earth Guardians.

Coordinated by Future Coalition, the Youth Climate Strike Coalition includes organizations such as DivestEd, Earth Guardians, Earth Uprising, Extinction Rebellion-Youth, Fridays for Future USA, International Indigenous Youth Council, Sunrise Movement, US Youth Climate Strike, and Zero Hour.

The Climate Strike is a multigenerational and intersectional movement, with youth coalition leading national organizing efforts with support from an adult coalition, including organizations such as 350.org, Alliance for Climate Education, Center for Biological Diversity, Climate Hawks Vote, Earth Day Network, GreenFaith, Greenpeace, Hip Hop Caucus, Interfaith Power & Light, Labor Network for Sustainability, March On, Mothers Out Front, MoveOn, National Wildlife Federation, NextGen America, NRDC, Planet911, Our Children’s Peace, Oxfam, Sierra Club, SEIU, The Center for Popular Democracy, and The League of Conservation Voters. The Strike With Us campaign is supported by a network of more than 300 movement partners who mobilize their networks and amplify the Climate Strike actions.

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The Youth Climate Strike Coalition is composed of the following organizations:

Divest Ed is a training and strategy hub working to resource, vitalize, and broaden the fossil fuel divestment movement one campus campaign at a time.

Earth Guardians is an organization that empowers young environmental and social leaders through education, tools and resources, in order to become effective leaders in their communities.

<pEarth Uprising is a global, youth-led organization focusing on climate education, climate advocacy and mobilizing young people to take direct action for their future.

Extinction Rebellion Youth is led by a community of young people within Extinction Rebellion, a network focused on coordinating national civil disobedience actions to draw attention to and persuade governments to act on the climate and ecological emergency.

Fridays for Future USA is a people-led movement around the climate crisis. Founded in August 2018, Fridays for Future was inspired by teen activist Greta Thunberg, who sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.

Future Coalition is a national network and community for youth-led organizations and youth leaders. Future Coalition works collaboratively to provide young people with the resources, tools, and support they need to create the change they want to see in their communities and in this country.

The International Indigenous Youth Council is an organization that seeks to organize youth through education, spiritual practices and civic engagement to create positive change in our communities.

Sunrise Movement is a youth-led movement of young people committed to stopping the climate crisis. Sunrise Movement is currently leading actions around a Green New Deal, including by planning hundreds of launch parties across the country in January 2020.

US Youth Climate Strike is a youth-led movement that helped organize over 424 student strikes occurring in at least 45 states on March 15, 2019. US Youth Climate Strike recently announced plans for youth-led “primary strikes” around the primary and caucus process in each stake.

Zero Hour is an intersectional movement around climate change. In 2018, Zero Hour organized the first official Youth Climate March in 25 cities around the world and laid the groundwork for the climate strike movement.


In the news: "We're Striking For 72 Hours This Earth Day — Are You Joining Us?"

On January 13th, 2020 the Youth Climate Strike Coalition released their op ed in MTV News announcing 3 days of consecutive strikes starting on April 22nd, 2020 the 50th Earth Day. Divest Ed was one of the signers.

mtv_20200113.jpeg

In 100 days exactly, we will strike again. On April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, young people and adults across the United States will once again take to the streets to demand climate action. Earth Day will launch three consecutive days of massive strikes, fulfilling our promise to take the climate strike movement beyond what we achieved on September 20.

Inaction is not an option. This has been the hottest decade on record and last year was the second hottest ever. Since the bushfire season began in November, fires in Australia have killed 25 people, wiped out over a billion animals, and blanketed cities across the country with historic levels of air pollution. Since 2020 began, thirteen days ago, floods in Indonesia have killed more than 66 people and displaced 400,000 more. These are the signals of climate change — the crisis is here.

Excerpt:

Thursday, April 23, will be a day focused on community action. College students at dozens of campuses across the country will be calling on their colleges to stop profiting off of the destruction of our land and climate and to divest from fossil fuels. Adults will be targeting their place of work as well as demanding that our everyday institutions — like Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, Liberty Mutual, and other banks and businesses — take money out of fossil fuels. This is the day that we must reach out to everyone we know and ask them to step up with us.


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In the news: "Why Gen Z Activists Are the Leaders of Tomorrow"

Op Ed originally published at Thrive Global
December 19, 2019 by Kathleen McCartney, 11th and current President of Smith College

Families across America are gathering to celebrate the winter holidays, share meals and stories, and connect across the miles. College students home on break will bring with them not only new learning and new friends but, in many cases, new or deepened identities as activists. Add to the mix a volatile political climate, and the potential for cross-generational flashpoints is high. It doesn’t have to be. 

The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in student activism. Growing income inequality has led this generation to understand that they might not achieve the same standard of living as their parents. The world is being destroyed by carbon emissions. Students have witnessed police violence — even murder — in person and on their cell phones. Yet critics, largely older and outside of academia, are calling students snowflakes. 

Student activism isn’t new. American students have long protested wrongs they have identified, such as the war in Vietnam during the 1960s, apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s, and lack of research and resources for people with AIDS in the 1990s. During late adolescence and early adulthood, the college years, the psyche is particularly engaged with matters of justice, equality and fairness, as adolescents’ cognitive abilities enable them to examine moral problems for the first time. Yes, their voices might be loud — perhaps because they hold far less political power than their elders. 

Excerpt:

Individuals like 16-year-old global warming protester Greta Thunberg, and student organizations like 350.org and Divest Ed that advocate for fossil fuel divestment, are challenging governments, colleges and universities not merely to reduce their carbon impact but to become forces for climate justice and economic equity.


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In the news: "Students Protest Koch Foundation Funding Proposal"

Originally published at The Heights, Boston College's Independent Newspaper
November 15, 2019 by Madeliene Romance, Owen Fahy, and Haley Hockin

bc_20191115.jpgOver 100 protesters stood outside O’Neill Library on Thursday night to protest the Charles Koch Foundation’s potential involvement with the Boston College political science department. Students, faculty, and alumni gathered in opposition to Charles Koch’s support of climate change denial and in support of University divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

The political science department has twice voted to approve the potential collaboration with Koch—the billionaire owner and CEO of Koch Industries, which manufactures and refines petroleum. The first vote, which took place last spring, followed a discussion on whether to accept or deny the money on principle. Koch, along with his late brother David, is famous for donating to conservative and libertarian think tanks and scholars who promote deregulation and climate change denial.

Excerpt:

Rachel Schlueter, a campus organizer for the divestment activist group Divest Ed, described how Fossil Free MIT, a student organization at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is working toward eliminating the Koch Foundation’s influence from their school. The Charles Koch Foundation recently donated $3.7 million to MIT’s security studies program.

Schlueter called gifts to institutions of higher education one of the “pillars” of Koch’s influence, along with campaign contributions and think tank funding.


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In the news: "The University of California Finally Has Divested From Fossil Fuels"

Op Ed originally published at The Nation
October 8, 2019 by Emily Williams and Theo LeQuesne

Fossil Free UC fought for over six years to get the University of California (UC) system to divest from fossil fuels. But when we finally won last month, we found out from an op-ed by university investment managers in the Los Angeles Times, which tried to erase the vast movement that had forced this epic result—arguably the largest anti-corporate campaign in history.

So we write now to set the record straight: UC’s investment managers claim they scrubbed the system’s endowment and pension funds of fossil fuel stocks because they had become too financially risky. Fair enough; that’s been one of our arguments all along. But what drove thousands of students, staff, faculty, and alumni to organize over this last decade was not the finances. It was the moral obscenity of these investments. With climate disruption setting new records, we need to undercut the fossil fuel industry in every possible way.

Excerpt:

Whether the Regents and administrators like it or not, this victory places our university, finally, on the right side of history. As Alyssa Lee, former Fossil Free UCLA member and the current director of Divest Ed, the national training and strategy hub for student fossil fuel divestment campaigns, said:

“Hundreds of other divestment campaigns across the country have seen the same kind of stalling, excuses, and false promises that the UC administration gave to Fossil Free UC. But now that they, as the largest school system in the country, are divesting, we see that victory is not only possible but on the horizon.”


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In the news: "Why Big Banks Are Accused Of Funding The Climate Crisis"

Originally published at Huffington Post
October 2, 2019 by Adam Weymouth

huffpost_20191002_bigbanks.jpegRachel Heaton understands better than most the power banks have to shape our world. Heaton, a member of the Muckleshoot tribe, started to make the connection between money and climate change as an activist against the oil pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota. 

She was one of a group of activists who identified Wells Fargo as the principal bank investing in the controversial pipeline that passes under the Missouri River, the source of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply. Their 2016 campaign, organizing pickets outside dozens of the bank’s branches in their home city of Seattle, ultimately persuaded the city to close its account with Wells Fargo in February 2017. (Although Seattle did eventually go back to the bank, for lack of other options.)

Following this campaign, Heaton co-founded Mazaska Talks — mazaska is the Lakota word for “money” — in January 2017, an indigenous-led alliance aiming to bring people together across the country to demand cities pull their money away from the Wall Street banks that finance fossil fuels.

“What we’re pushing to get back to are those values of respecting Mother Earth, and understanding that if we allow these banks and these fossil fuel companies to continue exploring and taking these resources, we are no longer going to have a Mother Earth,” Heaton said.

Excerpt:

Universities have often been at the forefront of pushing for social change. They’ve led divestment campaigns against tobacco and apartheid in the past. As long-term investors with a social mission, they are obvious institutions to take up the current divestment movement, said Alyssa Lee, the director of campus programs at Divest Ed, an organization supporting over 75 U.S. college divestment campaigns.

Now, the divestment campaign has moved far beyond college campuses. Climate strikes took place around the world last month, involving more than 6 million people across 185 countries, demanding the end of fossil fuels and a move to renewable energy. Lee sees that the role of divestment as key. “If you want to see the climate strike demands being met, one of the necessary steps is to call out the role of the financing and the investment in the fossil fuel industry,” said Lee.


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In the news: "Harvard Alumni Recruit Professional Divestment Activists"

Originally published at The Harvard Crimson
September 27, 2019 by By Alexandra A. Chaidez and Aidan F. Ryan

The Ad Hoc Committee for Harvard Divest — a group of Harvard alumni advocating for the University to divest its endowment from fossil fuels— raised $60,000 to hire two coordinators for alumni activities through the Cambridge climate group Better Future Project.

The committee raised money for Better Future Project to hire former College students and divestment organizers Canyon S. Woodward ’15 and Chloe S. Maxmin ’15, who is also a Maine State Representative, according to former United States Senator and Ad Hoc Committee member Timothy E. Wirth ’61.

Wirth said the group is continuing to push the University to divest from fossil fuels through the creation of these new positions.

Excerpt:

Both Woodward and Maxmin officially work for the Better Future Project — headed by Executive Director Craig S. Altemose — but focus their efforts specifically on Harvard. The pair is involved with the group’s Divest Ed project, which works to expand the fossil fuel divestment campaign on college campuses.


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In the news: "How the youth-led climate strikes became a global mass movement"

Originally published at Waging Nonviolence
September 19, 2019 by Nick Engelfried

It began as a call to action from a group of youth activists scattered across the globe, and soon became what is shaping up to be the largest planet-wide protest for the climate the world has ever seen.

The Global Climate Strike, which kicks off on Sept. 20, will not be the first time people all over the world have taken action for the climate on a single day. But if things play out the way organizers hope, it could mark a turning point for the grassroots resistance to fossil fuels.

“Strikes are happening almost everywhere you can think of,” said Jamie Margolin, a high school student from Seattle who played a role in initiating this global movement. “People are participating in literally every place in the world.”

Excerpt:

Activists are also planning for how to carry momentum from the strike forward into other youth-led movements. “Dismay at government inaction has led people to get involved in the climate strikes,” said Gracie Brett of Divest Ed, which works with over 70 campus-based fossil fuel divestment campaigns. “This same urgency has led to the divestment movement getting a second wind recently. It offers an opportunity to be involved beyond the strike.”


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In the news: "How universities and their students can combat the climate crisis"

Op Ed originally published at Newscoop
July 2019 by Katie Collier, a student at University of Pennsylvania

Universities have long been seen as the face of progress, innovation, and a general sense of moving the world into the future. However, many of these academic institutions do not reflect those same values when it comes to the industries in which they choose to invest. The fossil fuel industry is one of the most significant contributors to the climate crisis. Many of our universities support that industry’s explicit destruction of the earth by investing our university endowments in it.

To put it simply, our universities are funding climate change — the very crisis that affects not only the livelihood and future of their students, but also those of billions of innocent people.

Excerpt:

Campus fossil fuel divestment still has progress to make. However, through organizations like Divest Ed in the United States, greater coordination is occurring across campus groups to mount bigger actions and garner greater public attention. 


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Divest Ed's work this summer: Our June Fellowship Retreat and Summer Program!

This blog post is written by Jessie Kinsley, an organizer with Brandeis Climate Justice and a 2019 Divest Ed Fellow participating in our summer program! It was originally published for Brandeis's World of Work Fellowship.

Divest_Ed_June_Fellowship_Retreat_-_Group_Photo_2.jpgGroup Photo of our Divest Ed 2019 Organizing Fellows at our June Retreat in New Hampshire! (Photo Credit: Jordan Mudd)

This summer I am interning with Divest Ed, a program of Better Future Project: a Massachusetts-based nonprofit aimed at addressing the climate crisis and the rapid and responsible transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Divest Ed specifically focuses on training student organizers in order to resource, vitalize, and broaden the fossil fuel divestment movement. This past year I have been a participant of the 2019 Divest Ed Organizing Fellowship, and will continue to deepen my work on fossil fuel divestment-related projects throughout the summer with other organizing fellows in my internship. 

My experience in the 2019 Divest Ed Organizing Fellowship puts me at a particularly interesting position in terms of my summer internship. Unlike most internships, when I started my first day of work I had already met all of my coworkers, and had actually already spent a large amount of time learning, creating, and making decisions together as a team. The summer internship was kicked off with a fellowship retreat, in which myself and other organizing fellows from around the country met for 5 days to get trained and participate in discussions centering our various fossil fuel divestment campaigns. During this time we practiced consensus-based decision making, learned about principled struggle (informed by the works of Adrienne Marie Brown and Charlene Carruthers) and other important topics, and also made life-long friendships along the way. Oh, and we kayaked too!

 Camp_Wilmot_pond.pngThe June Fellowship Retreat was held at Camp Wilmot in New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Shelby Dennis)

This retreat made it easy to transition into a workplace dedicated to imagining an 8-week summer project relating to fossil fuel divestment. Myself and the other fellows decided to split our efforts into 2 important summer projects: national escalation* and reinvestment**. Each project has a team of interns that are responsible for creating and facilitating a summer project centered around each topic. I chose to participate in the reinvestment team, and will be working to research reinvestment options and creating accessible resources for student organizers who wish to incorporate it within their divestment campaigns. So far it’s only been a week into our project planning, but we are already generating a running list of ideas to learn more about: financial arguments to engage in, local Boston organizations to start learning from, and a ton of resources created from community organizers who have extensive expertise in this area. It’s both overwhelming and thrilling to think of all the information we are going to be engaging with over the next few weeks, and I for one am grateful to have a supportive team by my side to do it with. 

Reinvestment_team_at_work.png
The Reinvestment project team hard at work. (Photo Credit: Jessie Kinsley)

When I first dove into activism, I held the idea that progress looks concrete: laws being passed, resolutions being made, cities being re-envisioned and demands being met. I still do hold that vision, but my time with Divest Ed has taught me to look at progress in a new way. Not only does the work we do have concrete implications, but the way we do them continually encourages myself and others to enact the future we are trying to create. The team that I am working with on reinvestment practices horizontal leadership: recognizing the different skills that we all bring to the table and implementing each one to the best of our ability. My “boss” is very much not my superior, and instead a facilitator who is helping support our vision for our project. And my favorite part of our work culture is the genuine love we hold for ourselves and the work that we do. Envisioning a new, regenerative economy is difficult and stressful work, but my coworkers and I continue to approach each other with compassion and honesty, and the vision follows. 

I’ve spent the majority of my college career imagining my school’s fossil fuel divestment campaign winning, but I’ve spent very little time imagining what comes after. Through Divest Ed I’m learning that we must not only envision a sustainable planet, but a sustainable culture that allows for people to form non-extractive relationships with each other and the earth. I’m excited to continue fostering that culture and seeing what it can achieve in the next 7 weeks.

2019-06-14_GROUP_HUG.jpgGroup hug at the end of the June Fellowship Retreat. (Photo Credit: Rachel Schlueter)

 

* Link to the Facebook Event for the National Divestment Day of Action: https://www.facebook.com/events/2158186504240641/

** For more information on reinvestment: https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/reinvestment/



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