By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership
On September 20, the second year of the Global Climate Strike movement will be well-represented here in Minnesota. Ten events across the state have been registered with the Strike in Center City, Grand Rapids, St. Joseph, Moose Lake, Morris, Willmar, Minneapolis, St. Peter, Northfield, Mankato, and St. Paul. The St. Paul event is the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike at the State Capitol, where Minnesotans will stand in solidarity with youth around the world striking around the world.
These events in Minnesota will take place on the same day as hundreds of others, including in every U.S. state and dozens of countries. While the hundreds of thousands of participants, many of them youth, will represent innumerable perspectives and backgrounds, they – and we – will call for the common goal of ambitious, world-changing action to protect our future from climate change.
Sparked in fall of 2018 by Swedish high schooler and activist Greta Thunberg, these strikes, in which students voluntarily walk out of school to protest, have captured the world’s attention. They have won support – and in some cases, promises of direct action – from authorities at the local, national, and regional levels. While they have been led in many cases by youth and students, many workers, unions, and businesses have pledged their support.
The September 20 strikes will precede a United Nations Summit on Climate Action in New York beginning on September 23, where world leaders will consider plans to reduce emissions and achieve sustainable development goals. This is an all-hands on deck moment, where those who understand the enormity of this challenge must stand up and seize the attention of leaders who do not.
What this means for Minnesota
We encourage all Minnesotans who are able to take time for climate action on September 20. If you are in the Twin Cities, join MEP in attending and supporting the students at the Twin Cities Youth Climate Strike (the march will begin at the Western Sculpture Park on Marion Street at 11:30 AM.)
But don’t stop there. The fossil fuel economy was built over many years. Building a clean new economy will take commitment not only to individual action, but to challenging the structural barriers of power in the way that prevent us from transitioning to a sustainable future.
MEP and our partners are working to developing plans to address Minnesota’s piece of this work: making sure our electricity, our agriculture, our transportation, and our buildings no longer contribute to the climate crisis, but help to solve it. Stay in touch with our community for more information, and make sure your lawmakers at every level of government know that we need bold climate action now. At this moment, no one can afford to sit on the sidelines.