Nature has been a powerful force in our family. But what will nature be for the generations that follow? Coral reefs are dying, forests are burning, heat is rising and weather is intensifying. On Friday, as dad and daughter, we strike and march together to demand awareness and action on the climate crisis that threatens our precious natural environment and communities that live and work within it.
Across the globe on Friday, hundreds of thousands of youth and advocates for our planet and its future will join the global Climate Strike, leading up to the United Nations Youth Climate Summit on Sept. 21, and the United Nations Climate Summit on Sept. 23.
From Seattle to Spokane, youth ask adults to join them in solidarity and raise a collective voice for bold climate action now. Overwhelmingly, science says we have just a few years to transform our energy system, reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions and prevent the worst consequences of climate change. On Friday, we stand up to distinguish between those who will lead on climate and those who stay willfully — and dangerously — silent.
Our shared connection started with sand dollars and driftwood forts on Kalaloch beaches.
Summer vacations camping on the Pacific Coast launched a passion for conservation that extends to today’s fight for our planet’s future. In one generation, Dad’s enthusiasm about work spilled over into our dinner conversations, and our weekends were spent visiting special places he helped to protect. Underwater in the city, Liv’s volunteer shifts at the aquarium revealed the wonder of parents learning alongside their children as they touched anemones and sea cucumbers.
The kids of today will be the adults of tomorrow, inheriting a sick planet. Do tomorrow’s adults deserve to inherit a future with no glaciers, dead coral reefs and a polluted atmosphere? We don’t think so, and millions across the world agree. It’s time we listen to the wisdom of youth.
The planet has provided from the first steps of our species. Our health and well-being rely on the vast network of organisms and biodiversity that surround us. Why would we not revere, respect and sustain such gifts?
What we do for nature returns to us in countless ways, and investment in our natural world will be key as we tackle climate change. Healthy forests with ancestral trees, vast grasslands, coastal shrubs in tidelands: They eagerly breathe in the toxins spewed into the air by humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels. Soils and sediments store carbon below ground, where it no longer traps heat to warm the world above. Nature also supports cities, towns and economies, not only providing jobs but keeping communities safe from pollution, floods, droughts and wildfires.
Leading the charge, students are teaching the so-called grown-ups that the status quo is not an option — not if we want a safe, productive and healthy world for this generation and countless to come. Today’s youth have earned their place in the climate conversation. Frustrated and angry at inaction, they (we!) have captured the world’s attention in a fight for the fundamental right to a thriving planet and secure future. In March, thousands of school strikes on every continent raised the stakes, as kids demanded their right to grow up without fear of massive hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, rising seas and toxic pollution. Today they ask adults to join them, step up to this fight and its solutions, and realize the power of acting together.
We have reached a breaking point that we can no longer ignore. It is time to choose compassion over convenience, to stand up and shout for action. Our strategies to solve climate change must include every community and seek resolution for decades of environmental injustice. From the families that cannot enjoy the access we treasure in our family memories to the indigenous leadership that has stewarded Washington lands and waters for millennia, smart climate solutions must include everyone.
We strike to show leaders, the world — everyone — that our youth deserve a safe future. Let’s ambitiously set goals for Washington that will make all generations proud (and fearless!) Let’s think wildly about how we can meet those goals through investment in people and nature.
GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE: In Seattle, the Global Climate Strike starts at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill with music, art, street theater and teach-ins. A march to City Hall and rally begins at noon. Similar events are planned throughout Puget Sound. Separately, Amazon employees plan to gather from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at The Spheres, Seventh Avenue and Lenora Street, for a climate event before marching to City Hall.