University of Oregon students and Eugene youth are expected to protest climate change at the Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse in downtown Eugene this Friday as part of an international climate strike movement.
The students are striking to ensure a safe climate for their future, according to their Action Network event page. They have a wide range of specific demands, including the adoption of the Green New Deal, ending fossil fuel infrastructure project and declaring climate change a national emergency.
“We are seeing the beginnings of laws actually coming in about climate recovery,” said Eloise Parish Mueller, one of the organizers of strike from the Cascadia Action Network and Sunrise Eugene. “But I’ve been frustrated at it not actually aligning with the science. It aligns with the science from maybe a decade back, but that’s not really good enough.”
The rally is set to begin at 12:30 p.m., but Parish Mueller said South Eugene students will be marching to meet UO students at the EMU and then walk to the courthouse.
Parish Mueller said they’re expecting 100 to 150 people to turn out to the protest, though Brendan Adamczyk, UO Climate Justice League co-director who also helped organize the strike, said they have around 700 “interested” responses on the Facebook event page.
Sahara Valentine, Zealand Bell and Avery McRae, three plaintiffs from the Juliana v.United States case will speak at the rally, as well as several students involved in climate action in Eugene, said Parish Mueller.
Parish Mueller said they’re also planning a letter-writing campaign and discussion as part of the rally to make it more interactive.
The protest is planned and sponsored by a number of environmental groups, including Our Children’s Trust, the UO Climate Justice League, the Eugene branch of the Sunrise Movement and students from South Eugene and Churchill high schools
“These bigger, more national, off-campus groups – but they’re not really youth-led – so I think they’ve done a great job of providing some resources and then stepping back and letting the youth take charge,” said Adamczyk. “It’s important that with this kind of movement, that it’s youth-led and youth-organized.”
The protest is part of an international movement that began in Sweden in 2018, when then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg stood outside Swedish parliament with a sign reading “School strike for climate” in Swedish, according to several reports from the Associated Press and Reuters
Since September 2018, Thunberg has been striking for climate change every Friday and inspired a movement. On Wednesday, Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the Associated Press reported.
There are March 15 strikes organized in 112 countries, according to the Fridays for Future website.