A few dozen youths gathered in downtown Napa on Friday afternoon saying their elders need to make drastic policy changes to head off drastic, unwanted climate changes.
They stood in front of the county administration building at Third and Coombs streets. They held signs reading “The ocean is rising and so are we”, and “the house is on fire” while older climate change prevention activists looked on.
“We want to make sure leaders are held responsible for making sure our futures are secure,” said 17-year-old Shira Sadeh, a New Hampshire resident attending the local Oxbow School.
Similar protests were scheduled all over the world. The inspiration came from 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student who has protested climate change inaction on Fridays in front of the Swedish parliament and become an Internet sensation. It was announced this week that she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize for her activism efforts.
Sixteen-year-old Lainey Laband of Napa High School said she’s willing to reduce her own carbon footprint.
“I recently just got a car,” Laband said.
“But I’d like to carpool more often. The car is an older model. It doesn’t have the new technology like a Prius. I like to walk and ride my bike.”
Eighteen-year-old Melissa Cervantes of Napa High School said she attended the event to raise awareness, especially among youth. While most youth know about climate change, they don’t know enough about the causes and how to solve the problem, she said.
Friday’s protests tried to turn up the heat on climate change decision-makers. Meanwhile, the youths’ elders in Napa County are taking some climate change steps.
Napa County last year released a revised draft climate action plan and had announced that a draft environmental impact report on the plan should be released by the end of 2018. That didn’t happen.
Recent climate change court decisions forced the county to revise the draft environmental impact report, Planning, Building and Environmental Services Director David Morrison said in a Friday email. The tentative release target is now late April.
The county’s climate action plan, with its proposed carbon-cutting steps, will be only for the unincorporated county. County officials have talked about trying to create a regional climate action plan in coordination with local cities.
On Feb. 26, the local group Napa Climate NOW! asked the county Board of Supervisors to adopt a climate emergency resolution. It wants local cities to do the same. None of the jurisdictions to date have done so.
“You owe it to the next generation to do everything you can about this,” Sharon Parham of Napa Climate NOW! told supervisors. “It’s really serious. It’s an emergency.”
Several dozen youths in the Friday protest in Napa seconded that sentiment.
Youth protested in cities ranging from Berlin, Germany to Sydney, Australia. Hundreds of teenagers and young children holding their parents’ hands marched through downtown San Francisco to demand action against climate change.
The group of about 1,000 headed to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office and chanted, “Climate change is not a lie, we won’t let our planet die!” The march was part of global protests mobilized by students.
Before the march, the demonstrators held a rally outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office to demand she co-sponsor the “Green New Deal” bill.
Associated Press contributed to this story.