Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen whose solitary weekly climate strike has sparked a worldwide movement, shares a clear message about our climate.
“I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic…and act as if the house was on fire.”
On September 20, people all over the world participated in The Climate Strike. In Erie, students from Mercyhurst University and Penn State-Behrend, along with groups from the Neighborhood Art House, NAACP, Collegiate Academy, and others, coordinated the local Climate Strike. It took place on the steps of the Erie Art Museum. Speakers offered ways to slow down climate change. There were marches and educational sessions throughout the day. People were encouraged to vote for those candidates who are working to save our planet. The issue is not difficult to grasp: human activity is threatening our planet, our home, at an alarming rate. To mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis, urgent and radical political change is needed. Students chanted, “There is no planet B.”
We see the effects of climate change in ever-intensifying tropical storms, such as Dorian, a category five hurricane that stalled over the Bahamas. We watched on the news the heartbreaking suffering of the refugees from the storm’s destruction. There are fires in the Arctic and the Amazon rain-forest, warming oceans, and in our area, rising lake levels. This summer, many of the beaches at Presque isle closed due to harmful algae blooms. The EPA recently stated that Pennsylvania had warmed more than half a degree in the last century. We can see the effects in more frequent, heavy rainstorms and a change in our agricultural growing seasons. The people who make the most significant difference are the ones who do little things consistently. Swap out one-time use products such as water bottles, shopping bags, plastic straws, and paper towels for reusable items. Be consistent and help save our planet.
Pictured with Betsy Wiest is Jaun Llarena, a local social activist.