New Mexico students lead global climate strike across state

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Emily Phan, Vice-President, Fight for Our Lives. Photo by Bianca Hoops.

Today, people from all over the world will be walking out of work and schools to send a message that the world is experiencing a climate emergency. 

The “global climate strike” comes from a youth-led movement sparked when a 15-year-old Greta ThunBerg started cutting classes and camping out on the steps of the Swedish Parliament in September 2018, sparking similar youth climate actions around the world. Thunberg said in interviews she was inspired to begin her climate protest by the student led “march for our lives” protests after mass school shooting in Parkland, FL.

In New Mexico strikes will be happening throughout the state, in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Silver City, and Del Norte.

Emily Phan, vice-president of New Mexico student group Fight for Our Lives, says there’s no time to wait when it comes to climate change.

“Our big message is this is something that needs to change now. We need to take action now. We need to do it now,” said Phan.

Phan says what’s needed is an energy transition that builds a sustainable carbon neutral economy, pointing to the burning of fossil fuels as the main cause of climate change.

The schedule in Albuquerque starts with people walking out of their schools and jobs to gather at Robinson Park downtown, and then march to the offices of New Mexico Senators Heinrich & Udall. Organizers expect Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller to join them, and they hope for more public leaders as well. 

“We want to get the attention of people like Michelle Lujan Grisham and Deb Haaland,” said Phan. “It’s important because these are the people we elected … something needs to be done.”

The strike is the beginning of a week of climate action events in Albuquerque and New Mexico, including a service project to clean up of the Rio Grande Bosque and a fracking reality tour in the greater Chaco Canyon area.

This story is part of New Mexico In Depth’s partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story. 

Bianca Hoops is New Mexico In Depth’s academic fellow at the University of New Mexico for the 2019/2020 school year.

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