AS PACIFIC NORTHWEST BROILS, YOUNG PEOPLE BEG BIDEN FOR CLIMATE ACTION
On Sunday, Seattle sizzled at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Portland at 112. Salem, Oregon hit a blistering 117 on Monday. Roads are crumbling. Cables are melting. Records are shattering. Power outages are ongoing. Lives are in danger. And it’s only June.
This heatwave isn’t inexplicable, of course. It’s not a freak occurrence, an off year, or a fluke. It’s the predictable result of an escalating climate emergency. And as a young person, knowing the worst is yet to come makes this weather all the more terrifying.
Existential, ongoing fear of climate change has driven many in my generation to take urgent action. On Tuesday, hundreds of youth climate activists from the Sunrise Movement protested in front of the White House, calling for action from the president. They barricaded entrances and drew impromptu speeches from progressive lawmakers like Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Sunrise claims dozens of protesters were arrested, some carrying stark signs with phrases like reading such phrases as “For the air we breathe,” “for the people we love,” and “Biden, you coward, fight for us.”
The last sign presumably refers to Biden’s infrastructure bill, which fell significantly short of the commitments on climate promised during his campaign. But it’s indicative of a generational anger towards those in power — anger that I share. It’s part of why I started “Inherited,” a storytelling podcast about the youth climate movement hosted by me and my co-creator Julianna Bradley.
“Inherited” explores the rage, grief, and fear young people like Julianna and I feel on a regular basis when we contemplate the climate crisis. Every unprecedented weather event – whether feverish heatwave, powerful hurricane, uncontrollable flood, or smoky orange sky – serves as an excruciating reminder that our future is slipping away from us.
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