Danny Reinan, staff writer
Youth activists across the Twin Cities Metro Area turned out in large numbers to Minnesota’s Capitol, leaving class last Friday to lend their voices to the fight for climate justice. This event was a follow-up event to the Youth Climate Strike that took place on Sept. 20, the largest day for climate action in world history. Although this most recent strike drew a smaller crowd than the previous one in Sept., the activists in attendance were passionate and persistent in voicing their demands to government officials and calling for change.
Action in the Twin Cities metro area began around noon, with activists dispersing to engage in local actions. These actions were targeted squarely at people in positions of power, such as city council members, congressional offices and large corporations, usually taking the form of demonstrations demanding policy change. One impactful demonstration took place in a Downtown Minneapolis skyway, as a crowd of activists blocked the entrance to Xcel Energy. Demanding that they stop doing business with a county trash incinerator because of the air pollution that they have contributed to. Actions like these aimed to be more effective by targeting specific people or groups that have the power to create changes to policies, rather than making a broader, less directed appeal.
After many disparate groups took individual actions across the Twin Cities Metro area, they joined together mid-afternoon to hold a sit-in at the rotunda of the Capitol. Students held workshops, organized teaching sessions and heard from a variety of speakers as they sat in the Capitol. Many of the points of criticism involved the excessive amount of state spending on fossil fuel infrastructure and the lack of a Green New Deal from Governor Tim Walz. Many of these criticisms were voiced through letters that the activists wrote to their lawmakers in the Capitol. Activists also came together to articulate a call script that climate justice advocates could use when contacting their lawmakers.
When the climate strike wrapped up in the evening, the government officials at the Capitol had not made any clear promises or conceded to the demands of the activists. Still, however, the youth climate movement in the Twin Cities continues to have considerable momentum, passion and persistence, as shown by the considerable turnout for the strikes in both September and December. Although an additional strike has not yet been scheduled, it is clear what the next steps are for the Twin Cities youth climate movement. Organizers and activists plan to continue campaigning and rallying, and further their fight for a Green New Deal in the state. It will be even more critical for activists to raise their voices as the 2020 election season draws closer. It seems that the youth climate activists’ momentum won’t be slowing down anytime soon.