On Wednesday of this week, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City by boat.  At a press conference, she issued this call to action: “The climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. And if we don’t manage to work together to cooperate and to work together, despite our differences, then we will fail. So we need to stand together and support each other and to take action because otherwise it may be too late. So let’s not wait any longer, let’s do it now.”

The recent news regarding the climate crisis is truly disturbing--the Amazon is on fire. The Montana Hi-Line, a major part of the world's breadbasket, has been pinpointed as a hotspot in global warming which is likely one day to impact the world’s food supply.

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced disturbing plans to relax rules governing methane emissions — a major contributor to climate change gases.

If we don’t heed Greta’s call, what will the future look like for our children and today’s young adults?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. We all are. But one of the most powerful antidotes to despair and feeling isolated is to take action to address the climate crisis, and engage in building community. Action and connection relieve fear, and more importantly actually move us toward a livable future for our young people and children. 

Students speak out at the People's Climate March in 2017. Young people are asking adults to come out and stand with them for the September 20 Global Climate Strike.
Students speak out at the People's Climate March in 2017. Young people are asking adults to come out and stand with them for the September 20 Global Climate Strike.

On Friday, Sept. 20, Greta Thunberg and students around the world are calling for adults to join them in a Global Climate Strike: a day of rallies, demonstrations, and actions that will kick off a week of climate education and action and spark a broad movement for change based on communities standing together. 

No one is too small to make a difference. A year ago, Greta began striking on Fridays in front of Swedish Parliament. Since then, her ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ (School Strike for the Climate) has galvanized millions of students around the world into the climate movement to stand up for their future.  They are scared, and they know that so far government and industry, and the world of adults generally, have failed to address the crisis. They are challenging all adults to step up and work alongside them to ensure they have a livable future. 

The Global Climate Strike is an opportunity for everyone to step into the movement. Joining our community in the streets by leaving work and school will actually have an impact — large visible strikes and demonstrations have been shown to make a difference in public opinion and increase the importance of an issue in a community.

Only this time we’re not just talking about a single “issue,” but the gravest existential threat ever to face humanity, not to mention millions of other species. Sept. 20th is poised to be the largest climate demonstration ever, and if ever there was a time to join the movement, this is it. 

So plan now to leave work or school to join the Global Climate Strike on Friday, Sept. 20, and support the students and young people by showing up in person. Support them by allowing their participation in the rally and other activities. Your presence will help the world send a signal to leaders that we’re done with business as usual, we want a livable future and we’re showing up to demand it.

Planning is still underway, but here’s what’s happening on the 20th so far:

  • 10 a.m. Join a morning kick-off rally organized by a group of high school and college students and young adults called PANIC!. Visit missoulaclimatestrike.org to learn more about the rally, and other student-oriented events during the 20th and into the following week. Rally location TBA.
  • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Join a community demonstration led by 350Montana at NorthWestern Energy’s office at 1903 S. Russell St. in Missoula to demand that the company abandon its plan to build a new generation of fossil fuel generators and transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
  • 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Join Families for a Livable Climate, Climate Smart Missoula and others for a family-friendly climate gathering and “re-wilding” event where we will plant trees or work on a restoration project of some kind for our community, with special guests, snacks, art activities for kids, and more. If you’d like to be on a list specifically for this event, you can RSVP via email to livableclimate@gmail.com.

There will be many other community events during the week following the 20th, including the Missoula Clean Energy Expo on the 28th, all about celebrating our clean energy present and future. 

See below for many more events this month where we can learn, build community and help heal the planet together.

Winona Bateman spearheads Families for a Livable ClimateThis column is part of a 2019 weekly Missoula Current series, Sustainable Missoula, which highlights community sustainability efforts.

This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every Friday by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Upcoming Sustainability Events:

September 7. Free Cycles Climate Ride. Community cycling event and fundraiser to raise awareness about climate change and benefit Free Cycles’ programs. Different ride lengths available starting at 9 am. 

September 7. Let’s Talk About Water: Day of Action. Participate in citizen science project with Watershed Education Network. Greenough Park, 9:30 am to 2 pm. 

September 12. Climate Smart Missoula’s Monthly Meetup. 5-6:30pm at Imagine Nation Brewing Community Room. This month’s topic: Green Building and Energy Efficiency.

September 14. Spontaneous Construction – Home ReSource’s fabulous annual creative reuse art event. You can still register your team. Or just plan to come by for the festivities. Details here.

September 15. Sunday Streets. Celebrate Missoula as a bikeable and walkable community and kick off Walk and Roll week. Higgins Ave through downtown is closed to cars and filled with free, fun activities for all ages. 12pm-4pm. 

September 15 - 21: Participate in Walk and Roll Week by walking, biking and busing to work and school. Register on the website to win prizes as you log miles and build positive habits for a healthier community.

Thursday, 9/19, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.:Communicate about Climate” - This public program will focus on communicating about climate, specifically, the role communication plays in educating, informing, and persuading publics about climate change

Saturday, September 21: Join Pedal Missoula for family-friendly bike ride, Time and route TBA. 

September 20-27. Global Climate Strike! People of all ages all across the globe are striking on Friday, Sept 20, and planning is underway for a rally and festivities here in Missoula on that day. Then there are multiple events throughout the week, including a youth-led teach-in. Find out about local events and actions here.  

 September 28. Missoula’s second annual Clean Energy Expo. 10 am-3 pm, Caras Park. Join Climate Smart Missoula, The Montana Renewable Energy Association and many others to learn about and celebrate climate solutions and clean energy. Learn more here and contact Abby at Climate Smart if you’d like to co-sponsor or volunteer. 

View more climate and energy events via Climate Smart Missoula’s Calendar.

There are many more conservation events for 2019 HERE.