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Students in 1,700 locations across over 100 countries around the globe staged a massive demonstration on Friday, demanding that leaders in their own countries and globally take action to address the existential threat of climate change. A reported 1.4 million students walked out of school and marched and held rallies from Tokyo to Cape Town, and Stockholm to New York to raise awareness of the climate change crisis and their increasing concern that their generation will be unduly impacted by the failure to reign in greenhouse gas emissions now before it is too late. Their chants and signs tell the story:
The students are having an impact. For example, CBS News reported that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the students inspired him to hold a special summit in September to deal with what he called “the climate emergency.” “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change,” Guterres wrote in an opinion piece in The Guardian. “This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.” Photos of the strikes made local newspapers and received TV coverage as well around the globe, garnering the attention of tens of millions of people even on a particularly gruesome news day because of the shooting at the mosque in New Zealand.
Why This Matters:These student voices are a clarion call. Leaders should listen — not only because these students will be voters soon enough, but because of their sense of anxiety and urgency around climate change. There is an old adage in the conservation world — we do not inherit the planet from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Ultimately all leaders with a conscience realize this truism and seek to cement their legacy with environmental accomplishments. But addressing the climate challenge cannot be merely an afterthought — a capstone for a successful political career. It must be a “prime directive” — an organizing principle — for how we govern ourselves into the future.
To Go Deeper: You can see more photos from the climate strikes around the globe here. And check out MSNBC’s coverage, featuring an interview with Monica. Or listen to her talk about the strikes on Background Briefing, a nationally syndicated radio show.
Why This Matters: Millions of people around the world — including Americans — are already suffering due to climate change and it has created a refugee crisis. According to the proposal’s proponents, since 2009, a climate-related disaster has displaced about one person every second due to severe weather events, famine, drought, and rising sea levels, and other climate impacts. The United Nations believes that 22.5 million people worldwide have been displaced due to climate change since 2009 and that number could rise to 200 million forcibly displaced people by 2050. We will be confronted with this problem regardless of whether Congress passes a law allowing the government to deal with it directly.
Military dogs are often homeless once they are retired from service. And worse, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) won’t pay for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) to adopt them or other dogs as service dogs. Congressman John Rutherford of Florida has introduced a bill — the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act of 2019 to provide funding to veterans diagnosed with PTS who would like to obtain a service dog.
Why This Matters: It would be a real win-win to see some of these dogs– or other dogs in need of homes — go to veterans who are suffering from PTS as an alternative or supplement to other treatments.
Here are two pieces that we recommend you read today, one of which we’ve written and the other an op-ed in the Star Tribune calling on us to honor veterans by examining the environmental damage inflicted by the military. Michael McDonald, president of Twin Cities Veterans for Peace and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, emeritus professor of justice […]