By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — On Friday, May 3, dozens of Oklahoma students will go on strike from school to protest what they contend is the government’s failure to take action to stop climate change. Deer Creek High School seniors Luke Kerr and Lanah Hinsdale are leading the Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma event, sponsored by the Sierra Club Oklahoma Chapter.
The protest will take place at City Hall, 200 N. Walker Avenue, in downtown Oklahoma City from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma is a part of the national group, Youth Climate Strike, which organizes strikes all across the United States.
“We are joining hundreds of thousands of other young people holding strikes across the country and the world to demand change,” the Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma press release stated. “Our futures are on the line, and we will demand attention for climate change before it’s too late.”
Advocates of the movement feel that “political leaders in Oklahoma and around the world have failed to prioritize — and in some cases even acknowledge — climate change.”
In March 2018, United Nations General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador) stated in her opening remarks, “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet.” She continued, “11 years are all that remain to avert catastrophe. Climate justice is intergenerational justice…2019 must be a year of climate action at all levels.”
According to the release event speakers will include students and youth climate activists.
“The evidence is more than clear, it is overwhelming– not only is climate change real, it is already negatively impacting some of the world’s most impoverished areas, even creating wars in places like Syria due to extreme drought and heat,” said Johnson Grimm Bridgwater, Director of Oklahoma Sierra Club.
“And right here in the U.S., our own government admits major catastrophes such as wildfires, droughts, out-of-season tornadoes, and recent horrific hurricanes are all due to climate change, costing the United States billions of dollars annually to deal with the aftermath.
“But what all elected officials need to focus on is the biggest threat of all– the threat climate change poses to our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren,” Johnson added.
The youth movement was founded by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her weekly Friday “school strikes for climate” in front of the Swedish Parliament, the US Youth Climate Strike has joined the movement “Fridays for Future.”
The release states that Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma is making the following demands: 1) Enact radical legislation to combat climate change on local and state levels in Oklahoma; 2) Adopt the Green New Deal to shift America to 100 percent clean, renewable, and net-zero emission energy sources through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers; and 3) Declare the climate crisis a national emergency.
“On May 3rd, we strike again,” Kerr posted on Facebook. “Join the hundreds of thousands of students who are striking across the nation for action on climate change. Climate change has no boundaries, and Oklahoma will be affected. Will you strike on May 3rd?”