Media alert: Vermont Climate Strike This Friday Kicks Off a Week of Actions

WHO: Vermonters from all walks of life led by a broad coalition of citizen groups and supported by Vermont businesses

WHAT: Dozens of public events addressing and tackling climate change all over Vermont, including:

Climate strike rallies, teach-ins, die-ins, sing-ins, art projects, musical performances, dances, bike rallies, worship services, electric vehicle events, bannering, films, nature walks, tree plantings, regenerative agriculture, action against fossil-fuel lobbyists and coal plant nonviolent direct action.

Events list: https://vermontclimatestrike.org/events/list/ 

WHERE: Multiple towns and cities throughout Vermont including:

Barre, Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Castleton, Chester, Craftsbury, Hartland, Jericho, Manchester, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Norwich, Putney, Randolph, Ripton, Rutland, Sharon, South Burlington, South Stratford, Vergennes, Waitsfield, Wells, West Rupert, and Worcester.

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 20 – Saturday, Sept. 28

Strike and rallies: Friday Sept. 20 (statewide, but the largest in Burlington)
Bannering: Sept. 23
Action vs. fossil fuel lobbyists: Sept. 25
Bioregional Riverfest: Sept. 27
Bow Coal Plant Rally and Action: Sept. 28

Many other events throughout the week. Full list: https://vermontclimatestrike.org/events/list/ 

WHY: This Friday, millions of people around the world will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Actions continue for the next week, too. Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone. 

PRESS RELEASE: https://vermontclimatestrike.org/2019/09/12/for-immediate-release-broad-coalition-calls-on-vermonters-to-join-the-climate-strike/  

WEB LINKS: www.vermontclimatestrike.org

Burlington Strike and Rally: https://vermontclimatestrike.org/event-date/burlington-strike-and-rally/

Global Events: https://globalclimatestrike.net

Video: https://bit.ly/2mh4pUh

Organizations providing financial support in Vermont include Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Sierra Club, Chelsea Green, SunCommon, 350.org, Front Porch Forum, Burton Snowboards, Eco-Equipment Supply, Chroma Technology, and Natural Mattress Company.  

KEY QUOTES:

“We, the youth of today and tomorrow, deserve a future where we can hope for more than survival, and an education that will prepare us to continue the work of creating the future.”
– Hazel Civalier, a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School

“We need Vermonters to step up and demand action to protect us and our children. With eight days of actions, we’re kicking it into high gear and asking Vermonters to go on strike Friday the 20th. If they can’t strike all day, they can temporarily walk out from their workplaces and schools to join a local event and demand action on climate change.”
– Abby Mnookin, Mother Up! Coordinator at 350VT

“The damage to the Bahamas and southeastern U.S. caused by Hurricane Dorian and our government’s coarse response to the plight of Bahamians are more examples of the devastating impacts of climate change and the ineffectiveness of our political leadership to properly respond to the needs of people on the front lines of the crisis. As these storms are made worse by the manufacture and burning of fossil fuels, it is critical to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable, and connected.”
– Dan Batten of Extinction Rebellion Vermont

MEDIA CONTACTS:

-Divya Gudur, Middlebury Student Organizer, [email protected],  (847) 363-1628
-Grace Hsiang, Student Organizer, [email protected], (802) 503-7256
-Abby Mnookin, Mother Up! Coordinator at 350VT, [email protected], (802) 490-6393
-Greg Dennis, VT Climate Coalition volunteer, [email protected], (802) 989-4115
-Dan Batten, Extinction Rebellion Vermont, [email protected] 

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VT State Employees Association Members Declare a Climate Emergency at Annual Meeting

Whereas, the Earth’s climate has already warmed by approximately one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), and critical thresholds of 1.5 degrees C and beyond are almost unavoidable, the Vermont State Employees Association approved an official declaration of a Climate Emergency this past Saturday, 9/14/2019. 

The group declared at its Annual Meeting, Saturday, September 14, 2019, that “the members of the Vermont State Employees Association call on all union members and all governments and peoples worldwide to declare a Climate Emergency; and to initiate a just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort to reverse global warming by restoring near pre-industrial global average temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations, that immediately halts the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, rapidly phases out all fossil fuels and the technologies which rely upon them, ends greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, transitions to regenerative agriculture, ends the sixth mass extinction, and creates and guarantees high-quality, good-paying jobs with comprehensive benefits for those who will be impacted by this transition.”

Read the full resolution here.

Gregory Dennis: Social media and the climate strike

President Trump and his followers say it’s biased against the right wing.

Liberals worry that it’s stealing their privacy.

The El Paso mass murderer used it to spread lies he had read online about an “invasion” at our southern border.

Social media has a bad reputation. And it’s getting worse.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to explain how Facebook allowed Russian trolls to help swing the election to Trump. The president himself used Twitter to tell American-born members of Congress to “go back where they came from.”

Read more here

Coalition calls on Vermonters to join the Climate Strike

BRATTLEBORO — Local environmental advocates are joining a coalition of Vermonters in events and political actions later this month in response to appeals from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg and the youth climate movement……

The main event is a walkout of students from Brattleboro Area Middle School and Brattleboro Union High School. The groups will walk to Pliny Park, where there will be speeches, chanting and singing until 1:30 p.m. There will also be a Write for Climate at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center at 10 Vernon St., from 9 to 11 a.m.; and Non-Violent Direct Action training at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Read more here

 

Students to Gather at Main Street Landing Before & After Rally

Are you a student participating in a walk-out?  Do you have young people in your family who would like to attend the Burlington City Hall Rally? Students can learn more about the Climate Crisis and plan future actions with others teens, before and after the midday rally, creating organizing connections with students from other schools in the area. 

Thanks to support from the Vermont Peace and Justice Center, our host, the Main Street Landing,  has generously donated the use of their 200-seat Film House, complete with feature-size screen projection, to kick off Strike Week

Let’s plan for the future so we can all have one.

8:30am: Gathering, introductions (who’s here from where?), planning the day.
9:00am: Film: Beyond Crisis and youth-led community discussion 
11:45am: Join the Climate Crisis Rally
2:15pm: Return for student organizing (what’s next?) and other speakers.
3:30-4pm: Clean-up and networking.

Please email [email protected] if you (or someone you know) would be a qualified speaker about the climate crisis or climate crisis response organizing.

For immediate release: Broad Coalition Calls on Vermonters to Join the Climate Strike

September 10, 2019

Media Contacts:
Divya Gudur, Middlebury Student Organizer, [email protected],  (847) 363-1628
Grace Hsiang, Student Organizer, [email protected], (802) 503-7256
Abby Mnookin, Mother Up! Coordinator at 350VT, [email protected], (802) 490-6393
Greg Dennis, VT Climate Coalition Volunteer, [email protected], (802) 989-4115

Website: www.vermontclimatestrike.org 

Broad Coalition Calls on Vermonters to Join the Climate Strike

A Packed Week of Events To Address Climate Change Will Follow September 20 Climate Strike

In response to appeals from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg and the youth climate movement, a broad coalition of Vermonters is planning dozens of events and political actions this month.

Large public rallies in Burlington, Middlebury, and many other towns on Friday, Sept. 20 will be part of a day of climate strikes and walkouts at schools and businesses in Vermont and around the world. 

Hazel Civalier, a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School, spoke of the need for “stopping business as usual. We, the youth of today and tomorrow, deserve a future where we can hope for more than survival, and an education that will prepare us to continue the work of creating it.”

September’s climate strikes continue a worldwide campaign by schoolchildren calling on adults to step up, speak out, and do their share to protect current and future generations against the worst impacts of global warming. Greta Thunberg, who recently journeyed to the U.S. on a solar-powered sailboat and who will speak to a United Nations climate conference of Sept. 23, started the movement by skipping school on Fridays to protest inaction on climate change. 

With this current climate crisis and with the call to action voiced by youth globally in mind, the Vermont Strike Coalition demands the following:

  • Comprehensive and immediate solutions rooted in the respect for and dignity of all people.
  • Support for just policies that transition rapidly to a clean and renewable energy economy for all.
  • A commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
  • A just and inclusive movement that centers frontline communities.

“Vermont has always been a leader in the climate movement, and we’re heeding the call of concerned youth. We need Vermonters to step up and demand action to protect us and our children,” said Abby Mnookin of 350Vermont, one of the organizations in the climate coalition. “With eight days of actions, we’re kicking it into high gear and asking Vermonters to go on strike Friday the 20th. If they can’t strike all day, they can temporarily walk out from their workplaces and schools to join a local event and demand action on climate change.”

The Sept. 20 rally in Burlington will begin at noon at Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street. Along with other strikes on the 20th, Vermont activities planned for Sept. 20-28 are:

  • An action against fossil-fuel lobbyists;
  • Distribution of large public banners about climate change around the state;
  • A direct action targeting one of the few remaining coal plants in the Northeast; and
  • Musical performances, worship services, a tour of a regenerative agriculture farm, and more. 

For info on the dozens of upcoming events, see www.vermontclimatestrike.org/events/list

Among the Vermont organizers of strike-related activities is Extinction Rebellion Vermont. “The damage to the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian and our government’s coarse response to the plight of Bahamians are more examples of the devastating impacts of climate change and the ineffectiveness of our political leadership to properly respond to the needs of people on the front lines of the crisis. As these storms are made worse by the manufacture and burning of fossil fuels, it is critical to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable, and connected,” said Dan Batten of Extinction Rebellion Vermont. 

 Organizations providing financial support include Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Sierra Club, Chelsea Green, SunCommon, 350.org, Front Porch Forum, and Eco-Equipment Supply.  

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Actions and organization details

The climate strike and week of action in Vermont are being organized by the statewide coalition and other grassroots activists as well as students from schools around the state. Here are some of the supporting organizations:

  • 350Vermont
  • Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America
  • Climate Disobedience Center
  • Climate Economy Action Center of Addison County
  • EnACT at Champlain Valley Union High School
  • Extinction Rebellion Vermont
  • Sunday Night Environmental Group at Middlebury College
  • Sunrise Movement Burlington
  • Sunrise Movement Middlebury
  • US Youth Climate Strike VT
  • Upper Valley Affinity Group
  • University of Vermont Youth Climate Summit
  • Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • Vermont Public Interest Research Group
  • Vermont Youth Lobby

(See vermontclimatestrike.org for other groups).

 

A teachable moment: educators must join students in demanding climate justice

Pictured Above: Children and adults wait for the arrival of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg into New York City on 28 August 2019 in New York City. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As college professors, we’ve learned much over the past 15 years from our Middlebury and Swarthmore students about standing up for climate justice. On the forefront of the climate movement, they’ve launched the worldwide fossil-fuel divestment campaign and gone on to found 350.org and the Sunrise Movement. Young brown, black and indigenous activists who have courageously stood up to powerful fossil fuel companies have taught us how all fights for justice intersect.

So on 20 September, we plan to join youth everywhere, cancel our classes and strike. With seven colleagues, we’ve just released an open letter appealing to fellow educators everywhere: put aside your teaching notes and join your students at a climate strike event near you. As Greta puts it, “Our house is on fire – let’s act like it.”

Read more here

The Kids Say: Strike for Climate!

Greta Thunberg, Founder of the Sunrise Movement

By Gregory Dennis

View on VTDigger: https://vtdigger.org/2019/08/26/gregory-dennis-the-kids-say-strike-for-climate/

It’s said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree? Today.

So it is with climate change. If our society had decided 20 years ago to do something substantial about climate change, we would be much safer now. The transitions required today would not be so massive nor the timetable so short.

But it’s not 1999. So while the opportunities are bigger, so too are the challenges. 

So big that the latest U.N. reports warn we have just 10 years to cut the entire planet’s emissions of greenhouse gases in half.

And if we don’t? We’re facing a world of transitions we won’t be able to choose or control. Among them: vast food shortages and rising sea levels that will dislocate up to a billion people and turn them into climate refugees. Indeed, climate change is already one driver behind the mass migration crisis at our southern border.

So what’s to be done?

We all can and should make individual changes. Drive less, consume less, conserve more. Offset our travel and other personal carbon emissions through nonprofits such as www.cooleffect.org. 

Better yet, we need to let our political and business leaders know we expect them to act quickly to achieve deep and lasting reductions in carbon pollution. 

And for those who are at all inclined to become more active, now is the time. A few years from now it may be too late. 

Getting more involved is also good for one’s own well-being. It’s depressing to read and hear about climate change and just worry about it. Getting active and involved is the antidote to despair.

One inspiration comes from schoolchildren around the world, starting with Greta Thunberg. The Swedish teenager started refusing to go to school on Fridays, instead staging a one-girl sit-in on the steps of the Swedish Parliament. 

Greta is a very smart person and a bit on the spectrum — so she has the laser-like focus that most people lack. 

Once she learned about how climate change is altering the very basis for life on earth, she reasoned that she had been wasting her time. What sense did it make to go to school every day if she and her peers wouldn’t have a livable planet on which to use their education?

So she went on strike every Friday. Soon she was joined by other Swedish students and eventually by youth in many other lands including the U.S.

Now she’s coming to America on a solar-powered sailboat. (Like a growing number of people, she refuses to fly due to the carbon pollution caused by planes.) Her speaking tour includes a United Nations climate conference in New York on Sept. 23.

But we shouldn’t have to rely on high school students for the rest of us to get off fossil fuels and save the planet. So youth activists are emphatically urging adults to join them in a global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20, calling on leaders in every sector of society to act on climate. A week of actions in Vermont and around the U.S. will follow that, Sept. 21-28. 

(For info on other events in our state, see http://www.vermontclimatestrike.org. For general info see https://bit.ly/2UtxWpD and  www.globalclimatestrike.net.)

Ideally the climate strike would be a general strike around the world. Actions like that are relatively common in many countries. 

But a general strike is a strange concept to most Americans. So organizers are asking adults to do even just a little bit to join students who will leave school on Sept. 20. 

The hope is that adults who can’t strike for the entire Friday will at least symbolically walk out of their workplaces for a portion of the day. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes to send an email to political leaders calling on them to do something to slow global warming. 

For many adults who choose to stick to business-as-usual on Sept. 20, it will be a message to our young people that we’re very sorry — but they’re now on their own to clean up the mess we helped to create.

The biggest climate strike event in Vermont will be a gathering in Burlington at noon Sept. 20 at City Hall, 149 Church St. 

That event and many others over the next seven days are being organized by a coalition of Vermont organizations including www.350vermont.org, VPIRG, Extinction Rebellion, and the Climate Economy Action Center of Addison County. 

There’s plenty of room for supportive businesses to part of Climate Week, too. In Addison County, for example, the Climate Economy Action Center is working with Green Mountain Power to organize electric vehicle events. GMP — one of the nation’s leading utilities when it comes to achieving cleaner electricity — is also planning other events around the state. 

It’s true that there’s little reason for optimism right now at the federal level. Fueled by millions of dollars in dark money from fossil fuel companies, the Trump Administration is rolling back legitimate scientific studies and weakening regulations that slow global heating.

That means it’s even more important for us to act on the local and state level. It’s there the people have power, and it’s there that we can take back our democracy and begin to make America green again.