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Photos and thoughts from a powerful Climate Strike

Posted by on September 20th, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Young activists have staked their claim as climate activism leaders.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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…

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— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

It was an amazing turnout. Great photos.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

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.
https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/09/with-sea-level-rise-the-fate-of-hawaiis-most-vulnerable-roads-is-uncertain/

Rivelo
Guest

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2omtmQFiFw/

Brian
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Brian

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?

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

Figures that Sarah Iannarone would exploit this. Yuck.

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Greta is consumer capitalism’s worst nightmare.

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

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.”

Fred
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Fred

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.

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

How about that latest survey? Every demographic group is concerned about climate change except old, white republicans.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

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.

Mark Smith
Guest
Mark Smith

Hello, Kitty
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?Recommended 2

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.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

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.

9watts
Subscriber

pruss2ny
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.)Recommended 2

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.