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Young Nebraskans to Join Global Climate Strike

Scientists warn that a warming planet will lead to less productive soil, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil's ability to absorb carbon. (Nicepik)
Scientists warn that a warming planet will lead to less productive soil, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil's ability to absorb carbon. (Nicepik)
September 18, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. - Inspired by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden and record-breaking spring floods, Nebraska students are joining a global climate strike this Friday, with events scheduled in Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha.

Brittni McGuire with Nebraska Climate Strike is organizing a march to the state Capitol building. She said time is running out to address climate change, and that she thinks it's unacceptable for leaders to stall, claiming they don't believe the science.

"We're all coming together to unite Nebraska on climate action," she said, "and we're making a big movement, so that the leaders of our state can no longer ignore the issue and basically steal our future from us. They have to take action."

According to the latest report by an international panel of climate scientists, just 11 years remain to reverse course on climate pollution before the possibility of catastrophic impacts becomes irreversible. Critics of the strike say students are being manipulated by environmental groups, a claim dismissed by Thunberg. Others have noted that skipping school could put kids' educational outcomes at risk.

Cate Kelley, president of Students for Sustainability, is organizing Omaha's strike. She said Nebraska leaders should start listening to their constituents, especially those who will be eligible to vote in the next election. She added that it's been difficult to convince students to walk out, especially high schoolers who know that grades and test scores are sent to colleges.

"So, it says a lot that kids are willing to come out for this particular issue," she said. "This is also part of our education, in a way. Many of us can't even vote yet, and so this is kind of how we are making our voices heard."

Kelley said a "business as usual" course by leaders also puts the Nebraska economy at risk. She pointed to a new report by climate scientists, who warn that unmitigated climate change will lead to less productive soil, reducing its ability to absorb carbon and restricting what can be grown.

The IPCC ag report is online at ipcc.ch, and more information on the strikes is at globalclimatestrike.net.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE