This morning, I looked forward to the climate strike in Seattle, a march that drew over 10,000 protesters here and hundreds of thousands all over the world.
Why Bother? Real News
While waiting for the start, I awoke early AM, picked up my phone, and read an e-mail from the Audubon society. This bird-loving American club had just offered data to scientists who concluded that North America has lost 3 billion birds since the 1970s. Perpetrators of the bird massacre have been the usual suspects: insecticide, roaming domestic cats, glass skyscrapers, and of course climate change. Learning about this massacre documented by disparate scientists from over a dozen organizations and research institutions on the day of the protests provided added reasons to go.
Still waiting for the protest over breakfast, with a view of my back yard, I saw Steller’s Jays, nuthatches, juncos, sparrows, and chickadees. Then my son and I went birding at an Eastside park where he had seen a great horned owl the day before. We re-spotted the same one (picture from the day of the strike below). How many of these beautiful birds will be around in a few decades?
Can a bored owl get me fired up for the strike? Definitely. It was time to carpool to the strike in our electric Nissan Leaf.
The Strikes all Over and in Seattle
Young people demonstrated in Manila, Kampala and Rio de Janeiro. The famous Swedish teen Greta Thunberg would speak in NY after traveling there by sail, and at least 60,000 showed up to hear her speech and learn something from young people like her.
Why were the protestors so often very young? The young are not naïve, and the old are not more mature and wise. Instead, they’re using up and damaging the resources of future generations. Is it fair to think some of the older and supposedly wiser are in fact terribly selfish and immature? Most leaders are not leading; some are not even following.
In Seattle we have every reason to be concerned about the direct impacts of climate change we’re already experiencing: Worsening forest fires emitting pollutants in our air; the over-production of pollen and more allergens; rising seas that could harm one of the world’s many cities on a sea. A warmer Pacific Northwest will be a new, suitable habitat for mosquitoes, ticks and fleas carrying Lyme disease and West Nile virus, of which the first Western Washington case was recorded last year.
The atmosphere at the “strike” was both festive and dire. Some slogans contained vulgar words for the powers that be. Others offered warnings: “There’s no planet B.” Still other posters worked to combine threatening news with solidarity: “The seas are rising, and so are we.”
To Repair the World
What should we do to repair the world? According to the protesters’ signs:
- “Build more renewable energy.”
- “Increase access to public transit.”
- “Seattle pension: Divest from fossil fuels.”
- For individual companies like Amazon and Google: “Zero Emissions by 2031.”
- “Rejoin Paris!”
- 100 percent renewable!” and “build windmills, not walls!”
Aren’t most or all of these goals achievable?