Fall brings changing weather and the beginning of the school year. And now, it brings cataclysmic weather events, the burning of the Amazon, destructive hurricanes and wildfires, along with leadership emerging from youth around the world, calling all of us to action to address the global climate emergency. As we approach the Global Climate Strike on September 20th-27th, the state of our climate serves as a reminder of the magnitude of the work that lies ahead of us.
We are in a climate emergency. July was the hottest month on record worldwide. Super storms and wildfires are leveling communities. Crop failures are driving desperate waves of climate refugees. We’re still entrenched in our reliance on fossil fuels that we know are harmful to our climate and to our communities. The road to a clean energy revolution certainly won’t be an easy one, and we need to guard against lasting impacts from dirty mining to meet renewable energy demand.
Financial institutions and governments continue to push for new oil and gas extraction and infrastructure, making investments that are irreconcilable with a livable climate, are driving the problem, and that is why people around the world are rising up to demand solutions. Climate strike protests are planned at fossil fuel companies as well as at global financial institutions, following the leadership of school strikers who called for a walk out on September 20.
Right now, the Trump administration is in the process of rolling back regulation of toxic air pollutants and methane from oil and gas production, a greenhouse gas 86 times worse for our climate than carbon dioxide.
At Earthworks, we believe that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development and to manage the decline of existing oil, gas and petrochemical production. Our work has taken us across the globe—sometimes even into places we call home—to witness the tangible consequences of an effectively unregulated oil and gas industry.
Through our optical gas imaging camera, we’ve shown these communities countless oil and gas facilities leaking large plumes of methane and air pollution into their neighborhoods. All too often, we hear from these communities that the recklessness of this industry has come at a cost to their health and wellbeing.
Even as we push for accountability from the oil and gas industry, fight its expansion and work towards a 100% renewable energy future, at Earthworks we know that also means we need to Make Clean Energy Clean and ensure we aren’t building a renewable future from dirty minerals. Mining exacts significant costs on people and the environment, and we’ve watched it leave a legacy of pollution, time and time again.
Averting climate catastrophe is a complex and vast undertaking that none of us can manage alone. It’s a test of human ingenuity and innovation that’s going to take action on the part of all of us. The Global Climate Strike is an opportunity to take that action–to re-frame our global conversation on climate change and propel our communities forward towards a shared clean energy future. That’s why this year, we’re joining the Global Climate Strike, and we hope you’ll #StrikeWithUs.
Banner photo credit: Christopher McLeod, Sacred Land Film Project