Citizens are taking climate change into their own hands with a global movement

Citizens are taking climate change into their own hands with a global movement

If you’re concerned about climate change, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, and all of the other things happening to our planet these days, it can be frustrating to see report after report come out from credible, scientific sources calling for change… only to witness governments fail to really pay attention.

You’re not alone in your frustration.

A grassroots organization called EarthStrike has popped up on social media over the last week, calling for us all to take a stand with concentrated, collective efforts that force policymakers to enact real change before it’s too late.

The organization cites a 2017 report indicating that 100 companies produce more than 70 per cent of the world’s emissions, reminding us that in 12 short years the global effects of such emissions will be irreversible and the time to act is now.

“If we let the world’s temperature rise by a little over two degrees Celsius, the results will be catastrophic,” it says. “Sea levels will rise to untenable levels, heat waves will become far more common, freshwater will become even more scarce, and many more effects besides.”

What is EarthStrike?

The movement is still in its infantile stages but according to spokesperson Valerie Sinclair there is no one person or identifiable group behind it.

“We do have a formal structure, but generally we are accountable to the people who do ground work,” she says. “It started due to a collective desire to do something about climate change, but with the knowledge that the people behind climate change can only really be hurt by economic pressure. So, we want to organize a general strike for the planet.”

So far EarthStrike is off to a strong start with an array of social media pages and an official website. They’re developing a press package to help spread the word, and they’ve already posted printable and downloadable posters and banners for people to distribute physically or through their own social media pages.

When is this strike?

The official strike is scheduled for Sept. 27, 2019, with a quarterly series of events taking place next year leading up to the main event. The first, kick-off event goes down Jan. 15, 2019.

“Building a movement of people takes time. Strikes take even longer,” Sinclair explains. “In order to put economic pressure on people who can affect change, we must ourselves plan well in advance. The lead-up events are to keep up organizational activity in preparation for the strike, as well as to spread the word on the strike itself.”

What’s the goal here?

With many world leaders failing to truly address these issues, organizers want to help spread the word to as many people as possible and hopefully hold the biggest business offenders accountable for their actions.

“The people who benefit from fossil fuels and other carbon-releasing activity are usually wealthy enough to where they might be able to ‘ride out’ the oncoming wave,” Sinclair says. “So, they will spend their money and lobby to distract everyone from the oncoming danger that is climate change. It is downplayed in order to not affect their profits or income. Meanwhile, they build bunkers and shore themselves up so that they can survive while most of us, who can’t afford to do any of those things, have to work hard and might not even live through catastrophic climate change.”

How is Canada involved?

To date there are several national EarthStrike chapters, including one in Canada. Currently these organizers are assembling and building up materials in an effort to spread awareness.

“We are still in our build-up phase—EarthStrike was only conceived of on Sunday, and we’re primarily busy with creating a list of national and regional demands and creating flyers and posters to raise awareness for our cause,” says Canadian National Organizer Scott Hammond. “Once the initial stage of coalescing our movement is complete, we will begin organizing concrete local and national action on the demands we are currently formulating.”

He notes that if any Canadians want to get involved, the website is where they’re primarily organizing right now and they’re “happy to have any enthusiastic activists with a passion for the environment to join.”

What other countries are participating?

At time of press the site lists chapters in 14 countries including Turkey, Poland, New Zealand, and Norway.

Why now?

As scientists have been telling us, we have only a few short years to turn things around before there are truly devastating effects for everyone.

“It is essential that climate change is stopped or at least slowed, by any means necessary,” Sinclair adds. “By 2060, 90 per cent of China and India’s population could be dead from climate-related causes. People who don’t take climate change as a serious problem are ignoring a gun pointed directly at humanity’s head.”