Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and normal weather patterns in a place. This could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole. Climate change is currently occurring throughout the world as a result of global warming. Global warming is an increase in the planet’s overall temperature due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Burning these materials releases certain gases into Earth’s atmosphere. These gases trap the heat from the Sun’s rays inside the atmosphere, causing Earth’s average temperature to rise.
Millions took to the streets around the world. Many of the leaders of many local marches were young people. They were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old Swede young woman, who has even called Congress to listen to the science.
It is, as she points out, their future that adults are mucking up. And it is her actions that inspired millions around the world to go on a climate strike.
In San Diego there were multiple events. I knew the one in downtown would be well attended, and likely covered by local media. It is the logistics. So I decided to go to the one organized by Vanessa Cascante, President of the Mission Bay High School Eco Club.
She told the crowd “It is my civic duty to address the climate change as what it should be.” She continued, “we are on the streets today because our leaders have failed to recognize that climate change is real.”
She also pointed out that “over ninety seven percent of scientists agree.” She added, that we have between eleven and twelve years. In reality this is a very short timeline, but if we do not act, she, and many of her classmates are aware. This would be very bad news for her generation, and the rest of us.
Later on Cascante and other members of the club were given recognitions by the staff of Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, District Two.
The American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931 presentative Yasmeen Obeid also spoke at the event. She is a Palestinian-American and addressed a critical point about the climate emergency. This is how it intersects with climate justice.
“It’s enough, we need to take action today…moving forwards needs to start now.” This was a common sense of urgency from speakers and attendees, that we were late, and could be seen with the signs many carried.
Obeid then turned to the local officials present, most Nathan Fletcher of the County of San Diego, as well as Tasha Williamson who is running for office. She told them, “We can stand all day and push for things, but if it’s not transferred into policy work, then it’s not going to make any change.” She also told them to “stop wasting our time and our lives.”
She added, “climate change does affect every one of us. However, it affects low-income communities on a much larger basis.” This issue of economic and environmental justice is largely ignored. It was refreshing to hear somebody addressing it, and asking people to put people of color at the front.
When Fletcher addressed the crowd, he reminded them that the sixteen-year-olds in the crowd should pre-register to vote. He also told the rest that if they were old enough, vote to get people into office that believe we need the change.
Matt Costa was one of the two experts speaking. He is a recent PhD specializing in marshes, and he spoke as to how they are a carbon sink. In the process, they pull carbon off the atmosphere, and as the vegetation dies, it sinks to the bottom. Over the process of millions of years this is how oil and carbon fields were formed. “The reason we are facing the climate crisis today is we have dug out that carbon and burned it just over a few hundred years.”
“We are exiting millions of years of stored carbon,” he added.
There is a thing about natural places that restore that carbon to the ground, such as the Kendall-Frost Marsh preserve. There is a fight to restore the marsh, and San Diego Camp Land, to a more natural setting. Partly, “coastal wetlands mitigate carbon pollution.”
With climate change and sea ocean rise, Costa reminded the crowd that we humans will “have to take a more active role,” to ensure they keep doing that. The city council is starting to revise the planning for Mission Bay, and it’s time to restore the wetlands of the bay. They will also help to reduce coastal flooding and allow life to diversity.
Editor’s note. We generally speaking do not run photos of minors, but today, the High School students led the way.
Photo Gallery here: