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Youth Strike Calling on Adults to Act on Climate: "No More Excuses"

Striking students want leaders to prioritize the health of families over fossil-fuel industry profits by prohibiting campaign funding from industry executives, lobbyists and PACs. (Pexels)
Striking students want leaders to prioritize the health of families over fossil-fuel industry profits by prohibiting campaign funding from industry executives, lobbyists and PACs. (Pexels)
September 18, 2019

DENVER - Students in Colorado and across the globe are planning to walk out of classes Friday as part of an ongoing Climate Strike movement launched by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden.

Thomas Lopez, an organizer for the International Indigenous Youth Council, said young people are demanding climate justice, especially for people of color and indigenous people who disproportionately live in the shadows of coal plants, pipelines and refineries.

"They are demanding that the generations that came before them respond," he said, "that we ensure that they can have a future, and that the generations after them get to have rights to that future and have rights to clean air and clean water."

Organizers say the international day of action is on course to be the largest-ever global mobilization for climate action. Critics say young people are being co-opted and manipulated by environmental groups, a claim directly rebutted by Thunberg.

Patricia Townsend is one of five candidates running for city council in Lafayette on a platform to address climate change. The group is launching its campaign in sync with the student strike. Townsend, a single mom, said she's running in part to embrace student demands for no more excuses. Lafayette voters twice have called for an end to fracking and drilling, and Townsend promised that her group will make the city's Climate Bill of Rights stick.

"We will stop all fossil-fuel permitting in Lafayette. We will not permit any of it," she said. "We need council members with the guts to stand up to oil and gas, and the state, and politicians who protect oil and gas."

A week of climate actions is scheduled in Colorado Springs and Denver, including a Sept. 26 demonstration at the Suncor Energy refinery in Commerce City. According to the Denver Post, Suncor emits more than 800,000 tons of pollutants every year, and last summer broke a 12.8-ton limit for toxic gas emissions.

The youth demands are online at climatestrikeactionweek.co/demands, and more information on the strikes is at globalclimatestrike.net.

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Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO