A Call to Action from New Mexico's Youth: Our Part in the Global Climate Strike and Week of Resistance

Following a May 23 call to action from Greta Thunberg and 46 youth activists in a Guardian piece, the FridaysfortheFuture movement initiated a youth-led global movement challenging the failures of officials to respond to climate change. Since the inaugural global Friday walk-out 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 and accomplices by declaring a September 20th General Climate Strike, followed by a week of direct action and civil disobedience, and calling for mass participation from students, workers, business owners, and community leaders by stepping out of their schools and workplaces for the day.

New Mexico Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) echoes the calls for robust and urgent measures in response to the climate crisis. We thereby pledge our support and participation in the General Climate Strike and 7 Days of Resistance in September, and are fastidiously working to ensure that the most vulnerable of our communities can voice their concerns, ideas, and desires for the actions and 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. YUCCA and our host organizations Earth Care and New Energy Economy are both signatories to the Equitable & Just National Climate Platform. We also align with the indigenous led movement for climate justice in New Mexico and draw guidance from the Statement on the Impacts of Extractive Energy on Indigenous Communities of New Mexico & Demands for a Just Transition as well as the demands of the Chaco Coalition and Red Nation’s Red New Deal. 

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 US 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 are calling on representatives of New Mexico to embrace the Green New Deal – an as-of-yet unsupported resolution by Senators Udall and Heinrich or Governor Lujan Grisham – as one step to tackle the climate crisis, even if only to signal the urgency of the situation and a commitment to act. Plainly, in striving for a guaranteed future away from fossil fuels, we cannot dismiss any and all avenues available; we urge New Mexico officials to endorse the Green New Deal as one way to spur environmental and economic justice. 

Endorsing the Green New Deal is just a starting place. 

We call on all NM citizens, especially adults, to step out of their routines, workplaces, and comfort zones September 20 to show their support for these demands, this cause and our shared future.

OUR DEMANDS

With immediacy, we call upon the elected officials of New Mexico to:

  • Declare a climate emergency, and take action accordingly, as our state would in times of flooding or earthquake.

  • Support the Green New Deal and Equitable & Just Climate Platform

  • Implement a statewide moratorium on fracking to protect New Mexico’s lands, water, climate and communities

  • Support a statewide transition to 100% renewable energy no later than 2030 (nuclear energy is not renewable or sustainable energy). In this renewable energy transition, investment must explicitly address equity issues, be paired with investment in energy conservation and efficiency, and be designed to maximize community benefits and control (such as community solar);

  • Pursuing the above, integrate aJust Transition” planning process—one that prioritizes the needs and demands of those most affected by the climate crisis. Place the voices of indigenous, (low-income) youth (of color) front and center in the planning process, as our voices have historically been divested of any semblance of decision-making authority. This plan for Just Transition must honor indigenous sovereignty; establish reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities, addressing years of environmental injustice; establish legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity; and repair the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all. 

  • Pursuing the above, invest significant revenues generated from the extractive industry into an Economic Transition Study and Planning & Implementation Fund accessible to local communities in order to develop alternatives to our state’s dependence on oil and gas revenues. We will no longer allow the education, social service, and infrastructure needs of New Mexicans to be held hostage by fossil fuel extraction that threatens our existence. We hold our state government accountable for the failure to plan and generate alternatives to fossil-fuel dependency over the last 50 years. We raise the fact that despite our oil and gas “riches” - our state remains one of the poorest with failing education and health care systems, unmatched levels of childhood poverty and food insecurity, and limited economic opportunities. The fossil fuel industry has clearly NOT been working for New Mexicans;

  • Young people have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too.

    Together, on 20 September, we can unleash mass resistance

    Greta Thunberg and 46 youth activists              Thu 23 May 2019

    • https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/23/greta-thunberg-young-people-climate-strikes-20-september

    Tomorrow, schoolchildren and students will be out in the streets again in huge numbers, in 150 countries, at over 4,000 events, demanding that governments immediately provide a safe pathway to stay within 1.5C of global heating. We spent weeks and months preparing for this day. We spent uncountable hours organising and mobilising when we could have just hung out with our friends or studied for school.

    We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence. We have learned that if we don’t start acting for our future, nobody else will make the first move. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

    Once again our voices are being heard on the streets, but it is not just up to us. We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference.

    So this is our invitation. Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbours, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.

    This is about crossing lines – it’s about rebelling wherever one can rebel. It’s not about saying “Yeah, what the kids do is great, if I was young I would have totally joined in.” It doesn’t help, but everyone can and must help.

    During the French revolution mothers flooded the streets for their children. Today we children are fighting for ourselves, but so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or what happened in the Game of Thrones finale – while the planet burns. This moment has to happen. Last year’s UN intergovernmental panel on climate change’s special report on global warming was clear about the unprecedented dangers of going beyond 1.5C of global heating. Emissions must drop rapidly – so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s we are living in a completely transformed world.

    But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together. So this is our chance – join us on climate strike this September. People have risen up before to demand action and make change; if we do so in numbers we have a chance. If we care, we must do more than say we do. We must act. This won’t be the last day we need to take to the streets, but it will be a new beginning. We’re counting on you.

    Greta Thunberg, Kyra Gantois, Luisa Neubauer, Eslem Demirel, Vanessa Nakate, Noga Levy-Rappoport, Isra Hirsi, Zhang Tingwei, Angela Valenzuela, Martial Breton, Nurul Fitrah Marican, Asees Kandhari, Jessica Dewhurst, Alexandria Villasenor, Jonas Kampus, George Bond, Lena Bühler, Kallan Benson, Linus Dolder, Beth Irving, Zel Whiting, Marenthe Middelhoff, Lubna Wasim, Radhika Castle, Parvez Patel, Wu Chun-Hei, Anjali Pant, Tristan Vanoni, Luca Salis, Brian Wallang, Anisha George, Hiroto Inoue, Haven Coleman, Maddy Fernands, Bhavreen Malhotra Kandhari, Feliquan Charlemagne, Salomée Levy, Karla Stephan, Anya Sastry, Claudio Ramirez Betancourt, Vicente Gamboa Soto, Julia Weder, Lilly Platt, Balder Claassen, Kassel Hingee, Maria Astefanoaei and Pavol Mulinka are youth activists for Fridays for Future

The NM Youth United for Climate Crisis Action [YUCCA] Steering Committee coordinated by Earth Care :Kendrick Manymules, Aspen Coriz-Romero, Castille Aguilar, Veroaylin Campos, Seneca Johnson, Gimena Perez, Faith Pennell-Sutton, Eliza Hillenkamp, Fernando Borrero, Derrick Esquibel, Aaron Tenorio, Artemisio Romero Y Carver, and Nayeli Solis.      Visit climatestrikenm.org