This week, climate change is having a moment. Here’s why.
There has been so much climate talk lately that even the eco-unconscious among us are probably having a hard time escaping it. That’s because this week is like the Super Bowl, but for climate change. Having a hard time keeping track of all the various events taking place at literally the exact same time (thanks, organizers)? We’ve got you covered.
On Friday, students across the United States and around the whole world will strike in the name of climate action. The enormous effort was inspired by a Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg, the Rachel Carson of 2019, if Carson were raised by a kindly Viking. Thunberg herself is in the Americas as we speak — she crossed the ocean in a zero-emissions yacht to attend the U.N. Youth Climate Summit and testify before Congress (see what I mean about the Viking energy?).
Also on Friday, 1,550 Amazon employees and counting are striking in an effort to force the tech giant to take climate change seriously. On Thursday, Jeff Bezos unveiled a new climate plan that would, among other things, make the company run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. And to that the striking employees say: close, but no cigar! They want Amazon to put a stop to its cloud contracts with fossil fuel companies and to quit donating to members of Congress who are climate deniers.
Also on Friday, MSNBC will hold the second half of a two-day climate change forum for presidential candidates at Georgetown University. On Thursday, Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, Bernie Sanders, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, and Julián Castro spoke on matters of climate and environment for an hour each. (Grist reporters live-tweeted the highlights and will do so again on Friday, so you don’t have to, y’know, put your whole life on hold to watch seven hours of television). Cory Booker, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Bill Weld are up next.
Last but not least, the media, which has been, ahem, a little late to the climate game, is now stepping up to the plate with a week-long effort called Covering Climate Now. More than 300 newsrooms are participating in the global journalism initiative to report on climate change this week. Grist is one of the participants, though we should note that we have been covering climate now for the past 20 years, and will continue to do so for as long as the planet is hospitable to humankind.
So why are all these events happening at the same damn time? Blame the U.N.’s schedule. The governing body’s Climate Action Summit, convened by Secretary-General António Guterres, will take place in New York on Monday, in the middle of the annual U.N. General Assembly. The strikes were planned to commence ahead of the summit to send a powerful message to global leaders. Will they listen? TBD.