Youth Climate Strike LA @ycstrikela 2023 GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE IN LOS ANGELES September 15, 2023 via Instragram.

On September 15, a multitude of concerned Los Angeles residents convened in a powerful display of environmental advocacy, assembling in front of City Hall’s South Lawn to voice their urgent call for an end to fossil fuel production. Organized by the grassroots movement Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles, founded in 2019 with a steadfast commitment to climate justice, this demonstration joined the chorus of voices demanding swift and decisive action from elected officials in the face of the escalating climate crisis.

The rallying cry of Los Angeles echoed the resounding Global Climate Strike that unfolded on September 15, uniting tens of thousands of youth climate activists worldwide. This global mobilization was orchestrated by the renowned Fridays for Future movement, catalyzed by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

The genesis of the Global Climate Strike can be traced back to September 2019 when Greta Thunberg’s unwavering determination inspired youth across the globe to unite in protest against the inadequacies of climate plans devised by government officials. Thunberg, who initiated the Fridays for Future Movement in 2018, has been at the forefront of numerous global protests since its inception. These protests have reverberated across dozens of countries and hundreds of cities, all sharing the common objective of applying moral pressure on policymakers to heed the counsel of scientists and take robust action to curtail the cataclysmic effects of global warming.

A week before the strike, a member of Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles took to the organization’s Instagram account, @ycstrikela, to express poignant sentiments regarding the climate crisis and the disquieting fears about the future engendered by climate inaction. The heartfelt post underscored the magnified suffering experienced by communities that bear the disproportionate brunt of climate change and the profound apprehension about the world’s trajectory.

In 2015, the city of Los Angeles embarked on its inaugural Sustainable City pLAn, a pioneering initiative that forged partnerships across government, private, and nonprofit sectors to confront the climate emergency with audacious targets and resolute action. Despite these efforts, over 5,000 active oil wells continue to mar the landscape of Los Angeles County, with more than 1,000 nestled within the city itself, predominantly impacting Asian, Black, and Latino communities.

Tragically, the communities most resilient to climate change are often those with the least resources. Vulnerable neighborhoods in South Los Angeles, as well as pockets of the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, Boyle Heights, Northeast Los Angeles, and areas surrounding the Port of Los Angeles, face heightened climate risks. Some neighborhoods endure daily summer temperature spikes of up to 5°F, while larger cities experience increases of up to 9°F. The city grapples with nearly 20 days annually marked by an average heat index exceeding 90°F, with occasional spikes soaring to 113°F in recent years. Extreme heat stands as the city’s most menacing climate threat.

In 2019, the city of Los Angeles unveiled the Green New Deal, an ambitious expansion of the 2015 Sustainable City pLAn. This visionary plan emerged as a response to local demands for a departure from fossil fuels, outlining a transformative shift toward renewable energy sources. The Green New Deal extends its focus beyond environmental preservation, prioritizing the creation of sustainable employment opportunities. As the city charts its course toward renewable energy sources, considerable attention is devoted to mitigating the impact on affected workers and communities.

Ironically, the Biden-Harris administration, despite its climate commitments, continues to grant permits for oil and gas drilling, perpetuating environmental hazards. On March 13, 2023, the administration approved the Willow Project, a decades-long oil venture in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, an area inhabited by Indigenous communities and wildlife habitat. Additionally, a pivotal permit was granted for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project in West Virginia, which poses the threat of sediment contamination in waterways and exposes residents to the potential dangers of explosive leaks. Both projects inflict environmental harm and exacerbate the climate crisis.

Members of Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles, resolute in their demand for action, are calling upon elected officials within Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, LADWP, LAUSD, the State of California, and the Federal Government to declare a climate emergency. Climate activists worldwide echo this impassioned plea, urging their local officials, the Federal government, and the Biden-Harris administration to cease fossil fuel production and disentangle from investments in the Willow Project and Mountain Valley Pipeline. The collective call for climate justice reverberates, underscoring the urgent need for resolute action to safeguard the planet’s future.

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