Thousands of Portland residents lined up for more urgent climate action on Friday. Isabella Garcia
Thousands of Portlanders took to the streets on Friday, calling for elected leaders to take tougher action on climate change. The event, organized by the Portland Youth Climate Strike, also took aim at businesses and organizations that organizers said were working against the city’s climate goals.
“We need adults to do more than just call youth activists ‘inspiring,’” strike organizer Ada Crandall said in a press statement, “they must join this movement with us and do their part to protect our common future.”
More than 2,000 people gathered in front of City Hall Friday morning to deliver a climate pledge to Portland officials. The pledge calls on city leaders to “act decisively” to combat climate change by opposing new fossil fuel investments, rejecting monetary contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, designing climate policies that prioritize the health of their constituents, and supporting environmental justice initiatives. “at every possible opportunity.”
City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, and state representatives Maxine Dexter and Khanh Pham, joined protesters in front of City Hall Friday morning to sign the climate pledge. Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal also signed the pledge, but were unable to attend in person.
State Representatives Maxine Dexter and Khanh Pham kept their climate pledges. Isabella Garcia
“People will tell you that you are being idealistic and not rooted in reality, but the truth is, if they don’t take action on the climate crisis, they are the ones who are not rooted in reality,” Pham said. crowd after signing the pledge. “It’s very clear that we are in a crisis situation and if we don’t react and respond with policy changes that actually meet the current crisis, they are idealists who think business as usual will work.”
City Commissioner Dan Ryan posted a social media message in support of the strike, but did not immediately respond Mercurythe question of whether he plans to sign the climate pledge or not. Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Office didn’t respond either Mercurythe question of whether he plans to sign the appointment. The Mingus Mapps City Commissioner’s office declined to comment.
Thousands of Portlanders prepared to march. Isabella Garcia
The crowd marched from City Hall to nearby NW Natural and Portland Business Alliance (PBA) headquarters—two of the four organizers of the “climate villain” event identified as blocking the city from making progress on its climate goals—before marching over the Burnside Bridge to Revolution Hall, where the organization the local neighborhood hosts a climate festival, complete with information on local climate issues and live music.
During the parade, students shouted and held signs expressing their fear for the future if dramatic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was not taken immediately. According to the latest UN report on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 to avoid excessive global warming that will exacerbate the existing climate catastrophe.
Iris Foster (left) during the climate strike Isabella Garcia
Iris Foster, a student at Lincoln High School, said she had watched “too many sad documentaries” not to push for greater action on climate change. Foster noted, however, that he only learned about the climate crisis and Portland’s specific climate problems through his own research.
“Being able to join a movement should be more accessible,” Foster said. “There should be a class at school about this.”
Nina, Portland Community College student at the parade. Isabella Garcia
As the march takes over Martin Luther King Boulevard in Southeast Portland, Nina—a Portland Community College student who only provides Mercury first name—leads the song in Spanish.
“¡Si se puede! Yes we can!”
For Nina, climate justice means focusing Portland’s people of color who are most likely to feel the effects of climate change first.
“This movement is often led by white people even though Blacks, Natives, and other people of color have [calling attention to the climate crisis] over the years and have been most affected by it,” said Nina. “Looks like we’re being overshadowed.”
Banner of elected officials who have signed the climate pledge. Isabella Garcia
As the march left City Hall, a color-coded banner with dozens of faces of elected officials hung in front of the building. The green section—officials who have committed to acting quickly against climate change—includes the faces of several elected officials who signed the climate pledge. The yellow section, representing officials who did not respond to organizers’ requests to sign the pledge, was packed with overlapping faces.
“Right now, our leaders have a choice to make,” Crandall said as he stood before the banner. “They can continue to side with the climate criminals that are destroying our planet, or they can side with the young people who are gathered here today to fight for our future.”
The climate festival at Revolution Hall is scheduled to continue through Friday at 8 p.m.
Protesters gathered in front of City Hall. Isabella Garcia
Youth organizers lead the singing. Isabella Garcia
“I want a hot date, not a hot planet” Isabella Garcia
“Earth is the only MILF I wouldn’t fuck with” Isabella Garcia
Students in Climate Strike Isabella Garcia