Young people are literally fighting for their lives when it comes to climate change. And in downtown Portland today, they inspired tens of thousands of people to show up and fight with them.
Portland’s contribution to the global Climate Strike felt like not just a powerful event, but the start of a larger movement that will launch even more teenage organizers into many facets of climate-related politics, policies, and projects. While doom and depression often accompany this topic, today’s event had just as much celebration as seriousness. There was music and dancing before the rally at Terry Schrunk Plaza and plenty of smiles across many faces of the high-schoolers in attendance (not to mention tons of clever signs).
As the speeches started, the smiles turned to shouts, songs, and stories of how a warming planet is already having devastating impacts on many people. The rally had a strong focus on indigenous people and islanders: The former who’ve already lost so much from the systems that have caused our climate crisis; the latter who stand to lose everything if we don’t turn things around.
One group that left a big impression on me was the Pacific Climate Warriors from Roosevelt High School in north Portland. Waving a Tongan flag and representing Pacific Islanders, several dozen of them stood near the microphone as their leader spoke forcefully with a forceful mix of fear, anger, passion and power. “We refuse to let the world see us as victims! We are warriors! We are not drowning, we are fighting! Climate justice is our liberation!” Another one said, “As the seas rise, so do we!”
The speeches and songs were followed by a massive march that went from the plaza across from City Hall and over the Hawthorne Bridge to OMSI. It was inspiring and empowering to be part of such a large mass of people, all focused on the same fight.
I was there mostly to participate (with my mom who’s in town visiting!) and to just soak it all in. Read more reporting on the event via Willamette Week and other outlets. Browse more images below…
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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It was an amazing turnout. Great photos.
Mitch McConnell has already called it an “exercise in mass hysteria.” No comment from Trump. Why people elect these guys is way beyond me.
Bernie showed up to ours (in Greensboro NC.) Naturally our crowd was much smaller, older, and amazingly 95% white (for a city that is over 50% black.)
I find that if you ask them, they’ll be happy to tell you. It frequently turns out to not be the reasons we think they are voting conservative for.
I’d say people who vote against their own self-interests are normally not stupid, but instead ill-informed. One’s decisions are only as good as the data they are based upon.
My dad is opposed to raising taxes on millionaires, as if he will one day magically become a millionaire. There’s some pretty powerful magic coming out of Fox News these days.
Why does he oppose raising taxes on millionaires?
Great photos. The Climate Strike is blowing up here in Honolulu…large march by youth and a lot of Biki bikeshare riders riding in from the photos folks are sending in. (I assume Biketown also helped transport a lot of Portlanders to today’s CS too.)
Our DOT is starting to talk about climate change: retreating roads from the coastlines [but not less auto use]…as most of our highways are along the coasts, a legacy of 19th century rail lines and 18th century royal trade foot trails.
[but not less auto use]
That is where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? The thing I feel we need most, or one of the things, would be bold leaders among our elected officials or bureaucrats. The Swedish version of ODOT championed Vision Zero. Why can’t we expect something similarly visionary from ODOT or PBOT? (don’t laugh) Our myors love to strut sbout the national and international stage (remember Hales visiting the pope?) making wind about how climate astute they/we are, but as the excellent article yesterday from Catie Gould showed, the reality is pathetic.
Automobiles for personal use account for ~15% of total US CO2e emissions*.
IMO, most people who “believe in climate change” also ignore the science and focus on ideas compatible with their politics (environmentalism) or social interests (e.g. cycling).
The mitigation/adaptation pathways that have a reasonable chance of allowing us to avoid using up our rapidly diminishing carbon budget include far more transformative changes than merely killing the automobile. Like it or not, if we want to avoid passing 7.6 °F, we must rapidly transform just about every facet of our societies and lifestyles: where we live, what we farm, how we build, what we consume, what we eat, how we generate power, what we research, and what we prioritize for economic growth.
*29% for transportation sector from EPA 2018 Fast Facts Transportation adjusted by “2018 EIA Energy Outlook” transportation subtype data.
I agree, Soren.
But you might also allow that this here is a blog about transportation so we naturally highlight that slice of our thoroughly unsustainable society.
Fantastic turn-out. Couldn’t believe how quickly the crowd grew in size between 9:45AM and 11AM. Amazing.
I was (almost) the age of many of the students at yesterday’s strike when the first Earth Day happened in 1970. Glad the kids are still fighting. Sorry they have to be.
Yesterday I ditched my lesson plan and focused on the Strike and Climate Change in all of my classes. I polled every class and over 90% of students have Climate Change on their mind at least some of the time. Maybe that’s part of the reason we are seeing a spike in anxiety amongst our children today?
My generation grew up with atomic anxiety. It was always in the back of my mind that I, and everyone I knew, could be vaporized with little or no warning at any time. No one I knew was free from these thoughts, including the common and disheartening view that we were better off running towards the blast than away from it. So I don’t think children’s existential anxiety is anything new, though maybe it partially skipped a generation with the Millennials.
This is not to dismiss children’s climate fears in any way. I can see how these issues affect my older child, and the younger one will start being exposed to them before long. I’m not sure the anxieties are directly comparable … although if I tried to compare, I’d say the outcomes featured in my kids’ nightmares may be equally severe as mine – and perhaps more probable. Another thing I see in my kids’ peers is that although there is a much fear as there was for my peers, there is more anger.
Figures that Sarah Iannarone would exploit this. Yuck.
Exploit or participate? Where was Ted Wheeler?
He was getting politely furious about the water plant costing 70% more.
Participate would mean joining the march. Exploit would mean using it to further your personal or professional goals. It is quite possible to do both at the same time.
So any politician that actually gives a @#$% about climate change is an “exploiter”.
Please remind me of your position on the climate crisis…
My position on climate change means nothing. And neither does Sarah’s. She’s just trying to get elected.
A politician trying to get elected! That sounds nefarious. If only we could figure out how to elect people who don’t want the job.
Thats the problem in Portland. We never seem to elect people who are QUALIFIED for the job.
Which job? The Commissioner system in Portland is terrible. You get to elect people to run the city, but those commissioners get whichever bureaus the mayor hands them. “Here, you be in charge of the police!”
Greta is consumer capitalism’s worst nightmare.
Calling human beings ‘consumers’ is one of capitalism’s great ironies.
Jeff Bezos (at least, as parodied on South Park) would refer to us all as “consumer workers“, not just consumers.
its also possible to view greta as the worst most cynical embodiment of capitalism…she is a crazy powerful influencer.
but when “92% of scientists” are on your side facing such a grim, complex challenge, and u trumpet a 16yo instead as your savior (yah!! she’s sooo brave), well…u might be doing it wrong.
i’m not critical b/c i’m unaware of the climate situation…but aside from a couple of arrests and a whole LOT of college application essays implicitly getting written yesterday (“how i stood up for my future…”) i can’t help but see the hijacking of a legitimate concern to shape it into an idealogical litmus test: it was global warming, then climate change, to (now) Climate Justice!
…and if u ever want to see some kids “literally fighting for their lives” there’s a place on a hill just off downtown pdx. they don’t take yachts across the atlantic, but way more inspiring, literally.
That dear child is being exploited and manipulated. The question is by who.
All of our children and future grandchildren are being exploited by us so that we can maintain the status quo.
Yes, it is all a massive conspiracy.
How many high schoolers would have turned out had this been held on Saturday instead?
People on Oregon Live were saying this all day too. Not sure how long you’ve been out of school, it’s been a while for me, but I’m fairly certain anyone who just wanted the day off and didn’t care about the rally just went home or hung out with their friends somewhere else. I mean it’s not like they took attendance at the rally.
I am as cynical as anyone, but I think one of the problems the climate change movement has had is the lack of a clear symbol representing leadership. We all knew that Al Gore was never going to work. For better or worse, that role is now being taken up by Greta. Personally, I think better. I can’t think of a more specific person for the job.
How in the world did my phone change “apt” into “specific”? The splendors of technology seem boundless.
Pedophrasty, it ain’t just a river in Egypt.
and at least in Gore’s defense, he was ultimately transparent enough to allow that his involvement was really about milking the govt subsidies.
“i can’t help but see the hijacking of a legitimate concern to shape it into an idealogical litmus test: it was global warming, then climate change, to (now) Climate Justice!”
I can be as curmudgeonly as the next bikeportland commenter, but you lost me here pruss2ny. What exactly are you upset by?
– hijacking? Litmus test? Do you have a different, better strategy for attacking this almost certainly insurmountable problem? I have been saying much the same thing as Greta Thunberg here in these pages for close to ten years, with very little to show for it. I have nothing but respect for what Greta has accomplished, how she has managed to give permission to, inspire countless millions around the world to take a stand, join a fight, grapple with this difficult and perhaps lost cause.
As for your snide implication that climate justice is a new thing, my colleagues were thinking and writing about climate justice twenty years ago. https://www.ecoequity.org/about/
I will also say that I find Mr. Keith’s peevish slights to be (familiar) sour grapes. Trying to smear a brave and inspiring child who is conducting this entire campaign in her second language doesn’t make you look any smarter.
“Trying to smear a brave and inspiring child…”
“…your snide implication…”
i have 0 doubt you are on vanguard of movement, but its not snide to suggest that the mainstream are not yet fully aware that “climate change” has morphed to “climate justice”. and i’m eager to be lectured on a topic, but if someone rolls out children, or celebrities, or puppies….i start to question if i’m being educated, or merely sold. Targeting emotions is a cheap play and the moment i question the underlying motivation, i’m accused of trying to smear a child. right there is the litmus test, and u administered it.
I see about 30 demands from Climate Strike…of which i’d wager most high school participants couldn’t name 3…that we are supposedly cheering for…i’d love to know if you/BP community agree lockstep with all 30…
– [phase out all fossil fuels by 2020] seems an absurd start…why read the other 29?
– [transition to 100% renewable by 2030] w/o biomass/hydro/ OR nuclear? what? how??
– [reject carbon capture/ tech] shud we really defund potential tech solutions?
– [social welfare for displaced workers]
– […socially acceptable, gender responsive and equitable climate technologies…]
i thought we are gun to head/trying to save the world…what does Climate care about
gender? or socially acceptable?
Its a pretty long list and i think BP might be a great forum to hash out. to me alot of it looks like feel good proclamations of questionable merit or unlikely execution. i pulled them from:
I’m all for self advocacy especially on an organic level. but this was a corporate event cynically staged as a youth empowered protest. i didn’t fanboy when the scooter companies held a rally (ad campaign) at city hall, and Greta sailing across the atlantic to lead kids with absences excused weeks in advance screams scripted. Apologies that i don’t tear up and applaud.
I am ALL FOR learning what i can do to impact positive change, and that is all that should matter.
Far better to sit in the basement and lecture the rest of us….
The Portland climate strike had only five demands, all specific and concrete, and I’ll bet many attendees could name all of them.
“if someone rolls out children…”
Why does this have to be so cynical? So nasty?
The way I see this, a sizable minority of folks who want to do the right thing, who may not have much of a clue what that right thing looks like, are pleased to finally have a charismatic leader whom they can follow. Nothing per se wrong with that. But in Greta’s case her demands are also exactly right. Tough to swallow for many, certainly, but that is surely not her fault, but because we have dawdled for forty years.
And you didn’t bother to answer my earlier question: Do you have a different, better strategy for attacking this almost certainly insurmountable problem?
what is so nasty about “I am ALL FOR learning what i can do to impact positive change”?
I’m literally saying I don’t have the answers, am openly trying to learn what “the right thing looks like.” And so I look into the demands of the CrowdStrike led march, I highlight a handful of them, and I’m literally asking: is this really what the right thing looks like?
As someone trying to be more educated, where is my focus supposed to be? on the stated demands of the march, or on obsessively praising the “charismatic leader”?
What strikes me as cynical and unkind is that you seem determined to deny Greta any agency. You insist on impugning her, imagining her as a tool of some slick marketers.
>>> where is my focus supposed to be? <<<
This is the key question. Since we've long passed the point where individual action will be sufficient, your focus must be on political action to effect broad-based change. Whether you do that by joining in someone else's action (for example, the climate march), or starting your own initiative is up to you. I am not nearly together enough to start my own political movement, so I choose to support the efforts of others, even if I am not 100% aligned with every aspect of their work.
You are, of course, free to do nothing, but if you do, please don't lie to yourself about why you've chosen to stand aside while others fight for our collective future.
I’ve repeatedly highlighted CrowdStrike’s demands to address climate change, and am not focused on the “charismatic leader”…and the response u are repeatedly hitting me with is effectively “how dare u criticize the charismatic leader”
HK…appreciate your response and the concern that individual action has limited gain here resonates. we have limited agency to give, be it political support, time and/or money…and i suspect neither of us surrender our agency lightly (nor should we).
“i’m accused of trying to smear a child. right there is the litmus test, and u administered it.”
No, not you. That was directed at Mr. Keith.
As for a litmus test, perhaps that phrase doesn’t mean what you think it means?
Well 9watts, once again in your quest to become master of the forum now you accuse me of smearing Ms. Thunberg. I think she’s been put on a whirlwind “climate tour” as the face of climate change and it’s pushing the poor kid to her limits. If you don’t agree well then fine that’s like your opinion man. But how about implementing a little self moderation (as per Jonathan’s request) and not feel the need to respond to almost every comment of every story on this forum. Ok buddy?
I, for one, am deeply appreciative that she’s been willing to step up in a way that no one else has, and perhaps, could, and have seen no evidence that she’s being manipulated or handled by hidden forces.
2 weeks of sea sickness and canned food on a yacht with no flush toilet, shower, or cushy bed is the height of luxury!
i mean for $%#’s sake, why didn’t she fly like the rest of us?!!!
it took “2 weeks”, cost thousands of $$, and was widely reported to have bigger carbon footprint than just flying …which would have taken like 8hrs and cost hundreds.
can u really not see how someone *might* see her action cynically as a gimmick?
not even a little?
Because they don’t understand the symbolism?
Seriously… why do you care how she traveled?
here’s great symbolism:
biking to work/errands…taking mass transit…picking up litter on the streets etc
here’s what i see from her symbolism:
turn a $500 8hr trip accessible to anyone into a 2 week $$$$$$$$ trip literally no one can replicate and is worse for the environment to prove love of environment.
you can see strength and bravery in pigtails…thats great…but again, can you really not see how someone *might* view all of this as gimmicky? even a little?
(u can berate further if u want…u are a very respectful part of BP and so i was just answering your question and will drop off here)
Of course, the boat ride was donated, so where you see extravagance, I see thrift.
But what I really see is a dismissal of a very brave teenager over issues that are utterly incidental to her message or cause.
Ironic that the only outspoken climate candidate running for President was Inslee, who got booted out first. Also, Trump finally commented on the climate strike: “It doesn’t matter.”
Great to see people marching, but we’re gonna need a whole new economy if we hope to make a dent in petro-chemically-induced climate change – mainly an economy that doesn’t run on petro-chemicals.
If we could outlaw cars and make everyone ride bikes, we might make a dent, but I don’t see it ever happening by choice – only through some major catastrophe.
Like the kids say…Mother Nature Bats Last!
I had that on a bumper sticker back in the 80’s when I had a car.
The choices we make with our machines and the stuff that we make and buy will can decrease the production of additional greenhouse gases but there’s enough in the atmosphere already to change our world.
If we want to fix things it’s going to take changes in land management over large areas to pull carbon into the soil and into plants. No new technology needed, we already know how. My expectations of the US Forest Service are fairly low in this matter but Portland Parks, could we be a little more thoughtful about cutting trees?
There’s an idea that planting a little tree somewhere makes up for cutting a mature tree. Unfortunately there’s a delay of decades before uptake of carbon reaches the same level. Decades are a really critical time frame right now.
There are five major categories of US emissions:
3) Burned to heat buildings
We have line-of-sight towards largely eliminating emissions from categories 1-3 (albeit at the cost of increasing lithium-ion battery production for transportation). The key technologies are: 1) public transit, bikes, dense buildings, and electric vehicles
2) wind, solar, demand response, and lithium-ion batteries. Hopefully we’ll get 1-2 additional technologies proven out in the next decade in order to eliminate the last ~20% of carbon emissions for electricity that will probably remain after fully implementing the known, large-scale technologies.
3) heat pumps
Those changes wouldn’t totally remake the economy. I grant that the industrial and agricultural changes may get to the point of totally remaking the economy, but we don’t even know what they are yet so it’s hard to say. I don’t find it all that productive to speculate, when we know that 2021-2030 [if we get a Democratic president, house, and 52-48 democratic majority in the Senate] is largely going to be about the known technologies which won’t have a huge impact on the economy (and research into industrial and ag technologies).
good luck on that Democrat majority in the Senate.
Using this kind of production accounting greatly understates GHG emissions. We export much of our emissions elsewhere.
How about that latest survey? Every demographic group is concerned about climate change except old, white republicans.
great…old white republicans don’t tend to virtue signal. got it…think more telling is this recent survey that suggests that nearly 70% of US is unwilling to spend $10/mo to combat climate change.
saying u are concerned d.n.e. being willing to do anything necessarily.
I love the application of contingent valuations. “We should spend hundreds of billions on this issue that is important to me, but I am unwilling to pay anything substantive to help”.
It’s not necessarily hypocrisy. it’s just that while a majority are “concerned”, they’re not concerned enough to do much about it.
Um, the survey question is not very applicable IMO. It doesn’t state that anything will actually be *achieved* in fighting climate change, just that the money will be used for that. I think more reasonable would be “Would you support everyone in the United States (including you) paying __ more per month on our electricity bills, if that meant reducing the United States’ contribution to climate change by X% by Y date and Z% by Q date?”
I could see there being a sizeable contingent of people not wanting to pay money if there’s no known, nationwide impact, but willing to pay money if there is a known, nationwide impact.
Why ask the public to pay anything at all? Let’s survey the oil companies and see how much they’re willing to pay to fix the climate crisis they knowingly created. Better yet, let’s fine the bajeezus out of them for it until they’re out of business.
Your survey was payed for by climate change skeptics who want to defund all climate modeling.
This whole thing with the kids marching for climate change is really a big hoax. Reality is that most kids could never live sustainable lifestyle if they tried. first of all they care about is their stinking iPhone and they want to make sure that their mommy will pick them up in their SUV wherever and whenever they want to go somewhere. Are there a few kids that aren’t this way sure but most of them sure are. these kids couldn’t last one day live in a sustainable lifestyle and I mean one day. want some proof show them bicycle or two legs and see how long it lasts. Like I said it’s all a big hoax. if these kids really want sustainability they have to realize that more or less the single-family home is gone. They will be living in a tiny condo or apartment the rest of their life. That’s just for starters.
I’m all for less cars and more bikes but not the dogmatic way these kids think they want it.
Are saying the march itself didn’t happen (it was a big hoax)? Or that the people marching had no legitimacy to ask for change because some of them use iPhones and don’t live in a tiny condo? Or are you just being pissy about a new generation trying to figure out how to exercise some manner of control over their future because you helped create a mess for them, and can now offer nothing but derision?
Again, and maybe you should write this down, these kids don’t know anything beyond their phones and think that they know what they want.. and then reality they couldn’t handle one day of living sustainably. They’re so busy telling everybody else what they think they should do why dont they just live it?
Because they can’t . There are real pioneers who have lived real sustainable lifestyles. and there are people today who are actually living sustainably guess what they’re not out of the streets demanding everybody else live the way they are.
It’s a hoax in that these kids are bunch of hypocrites. The fact that we give them any airtime in any airspace really it’s just a giant waste.
I’m curious to know what your level of engagement with this generation has been. Do you work in an industry that would give you a wide level of exposure to a lot of youth and an opportunity to hear their thoughts and opinions? Did you go to this march and talk to any of them? Or is this just based on what you’ve seen on TV or observed from afar?
What some people have realized (perhaps they got the message on their iPhones?) is that there is nothing they can do as individuals to make a dent in the coming crisis. The machine is too big. What we need, what they are asking for, demanding, is societal change.
You are not required to participate, but please at least get out of the way.
Have more true words ever been said on BikePortland? Still, these kids need these events for social media, to prove they were there and stuff.
Yes, more true words have been typed on bportland. Many more.
The people in power in this town bribe a bunch of children into marching in their rally with a free day off of school? No “hoax” here. Perfectly legitimate. Move along!
If someone only wanted the day off school, why would they go to the march? If you were there you’d know how silly this statement is.
Psssst …you are being sold a bill of goods. The individual actually has all the power. But they don’t exercise their power. They do what they are free to do. If you actually believe that these Portland kids are going to want a Netherlands lifestyle, maybe then you should watch what they watch on YouTube. Stuff, stuff ..stuff!
Sure, love your trope though about the participating. As if there is anything to participate in.
So much rage, so little imagination.
The relative *cost* of the two trips is hardly useful. Everyone knows that because of a century and a half of cheap fossil fuels, everything solar- or human-powered, everything that once made sense, has now all too often become rare, expensive, difficult to organize, and consequently we’ve all or almost all gotten out of the habit.
The point of crossing the Atlantic without fossil fuels in 2019, surely, is to highlight not that it is cost competitive, but that it is physically possible, that, with a little imagination and some determination we could perhaps once more ply the oceans without fossil fuels. As we surely will have to relearn if we hope to still travel across the oceans once burning fossil fuels ceases to be morally acceptable, never mind abundant and subsidized.