Local teens organize to combat climate change | August 30, 2019 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - August 30, 2019

Local teens organize to combat climate change

by Nisha Malley

Last year, she was a solitary teen protesting on the steps of Sweden's Parliament House, but now Greta Thunberg is inspiring thousands to join the global youth movement calling for action on climate change.

Worldwide, "Fridays for Future" school walkouts in March brought together students from across 112 countries. Among them were St. Francis High School juniors Sindhu Vajrala and Jamie Minden, who co-founded the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike the same month, putting together resources to organize walkouts in under four days.

The chapter, which has since expanded to 20 members and five co-leads, is readying for its next march, set for Friday, Sept. 20.

Minden said they are coordinating with 60 public high schools, as well as middle schools, community colleges and businesses to reach their goal of 10,000 attendees.

That includes arranging transportation for students, communicating with teachers unions to avoid testing conflicts on the day of the march and petitioning districts not to reprimand students for participating, according to Minden.

"What's the point of learning for a future that we might not have?" Minden said.

The group also comes bearing a list of demands for local and federal governments, schools and tech companies.

The Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike is calling for cities to declare a climate emergency and adopt more aggressive eco-friendly building and energy codes. It also advocates for schools to move toward zero-waste and corporations such as PG&E, Amazon and Facebook to reduce their carbon footprint.

"If you think about climate change and the environmental movement, the government has been against the people on this every step only the way," Minden said. "Action has been through citizens ... kids like us lobbying people (for change)."

The group has formed a coalition between local youth-led environmental groups, including Sunrise Movement, 350 Bay Area and Extinction Rebellion, to organize the event and is consulting with adult organizers from the Women's March, March for Science, and Mothers Out Front.

"We're not going to be able to solve climate change with youth alone," said Peri Plantenberg, co-lead and sophomore at Homestead High School in Cupertino.

Plantenberg said the organizers are prioritizing the involvement of people of color and underrepresented groups in the environmental movement.

"One of our main goals is to make sure that we combat environmental racism," Plantenberg said. "It's traditionally a very whitewashed movement. We make it a priority to take a look at who is around us and make sure that we are including different ethnicities and different types of people."

Plantenberg pointed to the largely unrecognized advocacy efforts of Native Americans in protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline and Latin Americans' work to preserve the Amazon rainforest.

Beyond the march, Plantenberg said the group is taking other actions in the interest of fighting global warming.

The group plans to lobby the Los Altos City Council, with the hopes of it becoming the first city in the United States to adopt a carbon dividend act, a revenue-neutral policy that would charge a fossil fuel fees to mines, pipelines and other producers, and redistribute the collected money to citizens.

On Aug. 22, members of the Youth Climate Strike, Sunrise Movement and other environmental organizations held a sit-in at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in San Francisco to protest Chairman Tom Perez's past refusal to a host a climate-specific presidential debate.

"Our lives shouldn't be political," Plantenberg said.

The three-day committee meeting, open to the press and public, drew 13 presidential candidates and nearly 350 delegates. At the event, the committee voted not to host a climate-specific debate.

Both Minden and Plantenberg said people and governments should focus on actionable solutions to solve the climate crisis.

Growing up during one of the most persistent droughts in California's history, Minden was repeatedly given "disheartening" feedback by surrounding adults, who said that the effects of global warming were unavoidable.

"It's hard to comprehend that we might not have a future," Plantenberg said. "I know that I'm going to regret it so much if I don't take action."


Participants in the Friday, Sept. 20, march should arrive at the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station between by 2:45 p.m. The group plans to begin marching at 3 p.m. to San Jose City Hall, where the event will conclude in a rally featuring speakers and live entertainment.


28 people like this
Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2019 at 2:22 pm

Bruce Karney is a registered user.

I'm very impressed by our local teen climate activists. I've seen Jamie in action, making powerful presentations to the Mountain View City Council and she's an outstanding communicator with an important message . The article doesn't make it super clear that the Sept. 20 event is one that non-students can participate in too. Think of it as more of a "march," like the Women's March, than as a student strike. I graduated from high school in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, and I plan to be at the march on Sept. 20 in San Jose. If you'd like to learn more about environmental activities in Mountain View, visit carbonfreemountainview.org or Google "carbon free mountain view"

13 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2019 at 1:58 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

6 people like this
Posted by low bar bill
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 5, 2019 at 2:24 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

22 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2019 at 2:35 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

6 people like this
Posted by low bar bill
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

10 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2019 at 5:57 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

6 people like this
Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2019 at 7:49 am

I get a laugh when @low bar bill quotes "consensus" to try to justify global warming alarmism. We've known since Galileo's time that one person can be correct despite the "consensus" of the day. The earth does not revolve around the sun and humans are not causing the planet to become inhabitable.

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