On Saturday, an estimated 185 countries and hundreds of cities participated in the third, and largest global climate strike. Bringing action and awareness to the climate change crisis, about 4 million people hit the streets.
In New York, a quarter of a million people demonstrated in Manhattan’s fashion district. So supportive of the movement, the city’s mayor, Bill De Blasio granted an excuse to public school students who skipped school to participate.
Global warming is a fairly new problem in comparison to the age of earth. However, scientists have documented that the earth’s temperature has warmed by 1.6 degrees celsius since 1906. Now, increased temperatures place the planet on a fast track to rapidly shifting conditions that humans and other species will not be able to adapt to at the rate that the world heats up.
In August, pleas from Brazilian indigenous and environment activist, Rayanne Cristine Maximo Franca, accused loggers, mining corporations and governments of setting fires in the Amazon forest as an act genocide against the area’s aboriginal people. The Amazon, called the world’s lungs, burned so much that residents in Sao Paolo, which is 1865 miles away, reported that their city was covered in so much ash that it looked like the middle of the night during the middle of the day.
In the Amazon, at least 80,000 fires were recorded between January and August of this year.
Maximo Franca, like many other climate activists, receive frequent death threats and some follow through. On September 7, 2019, indigenous rights stalwart, Maxciel Pereira dos Santos, met a violent fate. Shot twice in the head execution style while riding his motorcycle in Tabatinga, a Brazilian city sharing a border with Colombia and Peru, Santos protected the lands of Vale do Javari from poachers, loggers and hunters.
Still, the Amazon burns at record speed today.
The Amazon is not the only forest facing an increase of fires. In New York, scientists predict that its deforestation will result in a 10 to 15 percent increase of forest fires. Already, the region experiences the erosion of its coastal lands, declining fish populations, including the decrease of lake levels. Ultimately, this impacts local farms and ecosystems attempt to adapt in the shift.
Joining the strike were workers from Jeff Bezos’s multinational corporation, Amazon. In San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, reports detailed employees walked off the job to participate in local protests.
For one year, Amazon demonstrators, who formed the group — Amazon Employees for Climate Justice — have been urging Bezos to come up with and enact a plan addressing climate change. Finally, he consented. This week, he committed to reducing Amazon emissions of fossil fuel by 2040 and 100 percent use renewable energy in the future. Now, Bezos needs to give back health insurance to the 1,900 part-time workers he pulled it from recently.
During the Donald Trump presidency, rollbacks on many policies put in place by the Obama Administration have occurred. On July 1, 2017, Trump announced that he pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement. The accord between nations that are the most heaviest producers of fossil fuel, agreed to reduce emissions in joint efforts. Trump said that he withdrew because the nation’s participation would hurt the economy. As well, under the Trump Administration EPA changes have relaxed regulations for energy companies.
By far, fracking plays a huge part in climate change. The process of extracting gas from the earth with pressurized water filled with chemicals and sand. As a result, communities where fracking occurs report poisoned water, methane gas leaks and an exorbitant increase of illnesses such as cancer, respiratory diseases, high risk pregnancies, birth defects and heart ailments.
Fast fashion links itself to the climate crisis, too. A business strategy employed by clothing companies to quickly create cheap versions of trending designs, it shows not only an abuse of labor, but the production of synthetic fibers and the over-production of clothes. The manufacturing companies are known to pollute waterways and soil, as well as, promote a wasteful approach to living.
Native and Black communities have been on the front lines of environmental activism. From Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey water crises to polluted land and rivers in North Carolina, these communities are some of the loudest voices. Why? Because they frequently take the first hit with manmade environmental problems. Yet and still, many remain invisible. For the world to save itself, there must be room and resources, in abundance, made for these communities or there will be no turtle island.
Scientists predict that if we do not change our habits, right now, the world will see dramatic shifts in ten to 20 years. We are literally, playing Russian Roulette (no fake news) with our lives. Periodt.
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