Last Friday’s huge Youth Climate Strike saw 2,000 Portland students take to the streets to demand more action on climate change. But what exactly are they fighting for? Part of the reason many elected officials don’t take climate change more seriously is because they’re willing see young people, but unwilling to listen to them.
Friday’s march and rally was not just a photo op, and these activists are not going away. Organizers of the event with Portland Youth Climate Strike have issued a list of demands and are actively working to meet with local politicians to make them a reality.
Here’s what they want (note the detailed transportation-related demands):
Portland leaders reflect racial justice in climate justice policy:
a. Portland is still suffering from decades of redlining pre-dating the historic Albina flood. In a recent study conducted by Portland State University, it shows traditionally redlined communities are nearly 13 degrees hotter than their white counterparts. Policies that have enforced gentrified conditions are exacerbating the fatal impacts of climate change.
A total switch to green infrastructure:
a. Require green fuel for city-owned vehicles, including school buses, police cars, ambulances, and any other government-issued vehicles in active duty.
b. Updating public transport routes and maintenance of sidewalks, to publicly push a more pedestrian open narrative into the city.
c. Create clean and secure housing for all people currently on the Portland streets.
An accelerated deadline for Portland to be 100% carbon neutral by 2035:
a. Due to HB 2021, Oregon is required to make an active effort to cut down on fossil fuels and the dependency on unrenewable energy.
b. This would also require local energy companies and providers to adapt electrical grids to accommodate the rate of change, and the decrease of greenhouse providers.
The city cut down on the importation of fossil fuels as soon as possible, with a focus in NW Portland:
a. Industrial Portland, housing much of the fossil fuel plants in the county, is poorly equipped for natural disasters such as the overdue Cascadia earthquake. This district is also home to a significant number of low income/working class communities. When this inevitable disaster does occur, Portland is in grave danger of facing one of the worst oil spills and gas leaks in the NW region.
b. Current fossil fuel industries must focus on earthquake-proofing current infrastructure designed to withstand 5.0 – 9.0 in magnitude.
The city prioritize a rapid and just decarbonization of our region’s transportation system:
a. Work with regional partners to fully fund Youth Pass
b. An immediate moratorium on all freeway expansions within city limits
c. Supporting legislation to demand every transportation megaproject be subjected to an independent analysis of its projected impacts to vehicle miles travelled and carbon pollution
d. Join community advocates pushing for a full Environmental Impact Statement on the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion and full ODOT-funding of buildable highway caps for Albina Vision Trust
e. Full implementation of the progressive policy recommendations proposed by the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility (POEM) committee.
Lastly, every Portlander view structural and interpersonal issues through a climate resilient lens, and become climate leaders in their own rights. The future of youth depends on the policy actions taken today, and every decision passed has environmental consequences.
On Wednesday, some of the organizers of the march will be back in action at the 12th Youth vs. ODOT rally. This week they’ll welcome Oregon State Rep Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha) as a guest speaker. You can join a group bike ride to the event that leaves Sunnyside School in southeast Portland at 3:45. Learn more about the event at the @YouthVsODOT IG account.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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