By Alex Cordero
Students in Pasadena are will raise awareness of the dangers to our environment and demand local city officials support a local Green New Deal (GND) by participating in a climate strike with local activists on Friday, Dec. 6 at Pasadena City Hall.
Pasadena students will not be alone in demanding change to environmental policies that affect the future of our planet; world leaders will gather in Madrid at the United Nations climate conference to discuss the implementations of previous environmental guidelines to fight climate change under the Paris Climate Change Agreement from Dec. 2 through Dec. 13.
During the protest, student strike leaders will be collecting signatures for a petition to present to Pasadena Council members on Dec. 9 asking them to pledge to the GND, a pledge that will require city officials to stop accepting monetary contributions from oil, gas and coal industry executives and lobbyist.
Ozzy Simpson, co-president of Sequoyah’s student council, does not have confidence that any City Council member in Pasadena will agree to pledge. “I doubt any City Council members will pledge to champion a GND when we deliver the petition signatures, especially since they seem to be proud of the Pasadena Climate Action Plan that doesn’t match the GND’s goals or actions (such as 100% renewable energy by 2030).
“While I am not very confident in City Council members signing on to the pledge immediately, I hope they realize that we won’t trust them to tackle the climate crisis if they don’t sign on. There are primary elections for most council (and mayor) seats in March, and there’s always the possibility of the incumbent losing their seat if a newcomer agrees to sign the pledge and they don’t.”
Students are determined to continue participating in climate strikes until they feel they obtain the support necessary to convince them the City Council in Pasadena is taking them seriously.
“There are people who have been striking at Pasadena City Hall every Friday in line with the Friday’s for Future movement. The next worldwide climate strikes are currently planned for Earth Day in 2020 and we will likely be striking at Pasadena City Hall then—although I cannot yet say if our demands for that strike will be Pasadena-specific or about state, national, or global issues. However, since primaries are coming up in March, I am hoping to host a climate debate with other Pasadena students in January or February with all of the candidates for mayor and City Council. We will likely ask candidates to sign a similar pledge there.”
The climate strike builds on the momentum of the historical international climate strike this past summer. Millions around the world participated in the climate protest.
I asked Simpson what he would say to political leaders who claim global warming is not real. “Climate-denying politicians are denying something that 97% of scientists agree on. To me, that’s absolutely ridiculous and clear that they are prioritizing profits over human lives. It’s also hypocritical to me if they, for example, take and trust medicine scientists develop yet don’t trust 97% of them on the climate crisis. Unless they were/are a scientist (and even then, they’re in the minority), politicians can’t pick and choose what to trust from scientists in order to make more money.”
If you would like to join or obtain more information about climate strikes please visit pasadenaclimatestrike.com.