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MY VIEW: Time to strike for climate change

Sep 7, 2019 Santa Fe New Mexican

By Kendrick Manymules and Castille Aguilar

After a May 23 call to action from Greta Thunberg and 46 youth activists in a Guardian piece, the FridaysForFuture movement initiated a youth-led global movement challenging the failures of officials to respond to climate change

Since the inaugural global Friday walkout this spring, youth from around the world have asserted the need for strong measures regarding the climate crisis and the disruption of business as usual. Building on this momentum and positioning our movement as an intergenerational one, youth activists have sought to call in and hold accountable adult allies by declaring a Sept. 20 General Climate Strike, followed by a week of action, and for mass participation from students, workers, business owners and community leaders by stepping out of their schools and workplaces for the day.

Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, or YUCCA, echoes the calls for urgent measures responding to the climate crisis. We thereby pledge our support and participation in the Climate Strike and 7 Days of Resistance, and are working to ensure that the most vulnerable of our communities can voice their concerns and desires for the organizing of the strike to be as reflective of their lives as possible; the vibrancies of our state are being funnelled into our planning efforts as a reminder that any movement for climate justice must be an intersectional one encompassing indigenous, black, Latinx, gender and economic justice.

The demonstrated inability of elected officials to act on the climate crisis serves to remind us that we cannot limit our efforts to avenues sanctioned by the state; the foundations of the U.S. are built on stolen land supplemented by stolen labor, and this country continues to enrich itself through militarism, imperialism and extraction to this day. Nonetheless, we cannot dismiss any and all avenues available.

Therefore, we call on New Mexico officials to declare a Climate Emergency and take immediate action to tackle the climate crisis by meeting our demands which are presented in full at but include: a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy (nuclear energy is not renewable or sustainable energy) no later than 2030; a moratorium on fracking; and the immediate investment of revenues generated from extractive industries into a transition planning and implementation fund to develop alternatives to our state’s dependence on oil and gas revenues.

We no longer will allow the livelihoods of New Mexicans to be held hostage by fossil fuel extraction. We hold our state government accountable for the failure to plan and generate alternatives to fossil fuel dependency over the last 50 years. Despite our oil and gas “riches” — our state remains one of the poorest with failing education and health care, unmatched levels of childhood poverty and food insecurity, and limited economic opportunities. We demand immediate investment in an economy that serves our families and futures, and insist on centering the voices of indigenous, (low-income) youth (of color) in the planning process, as our voices have historically been divested of any semblance of decision-making authority.

We demand a just transition that prioritizes indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.

With immediacy, we call on you, dear reader, to step out of your routine, workplace and comfort zones on Sept. 20 to show your support for and invest in our cause and the future.

Kendrick Manymules is a citizen of the Navajo Nation from Window Rock, Ariz., and a current graduate student at MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Kendrick has spent the summer working with New Energy Economy and getting acquainted with Santa Fe. Castille Aguilar is from Santa Fe and will be a senior at Eckerd College studying environmental studies. Castille has been working with Earth Care and has been involved in environmental and social justice work in Santa Fe for the past few years.

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