Haldiman: Youth environmental battle cry rumbles into the West Valley


If you haven’t seen 16-year-old Greta Thunberg fight for environmental justice over the last year, then you’ve probably been under a nice, cool rock.

Maybe lucky for you, because Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Swedish activist wonder kid has worked to bring this awareness to the world, gaining international notoriety with her harsh words for adults who have consistently come up short in safeguarding the world environmentally for future generations.

Thunberg is one of many young people in recent years who have been courageous enough to fight for the world they want to live in — the world they will inhabit long after we are gone.

Now her battle cry has reached our little part of the world.

Youth from across the West Valley will gather in joining the Global Youth Climate Strike, 2 p.m., Dec. 6, at Peoria Centennial Plaza, in downtown Peoria.

Students from West Valley school districts and beyond will gather to bring awareness of the climate crisis to Peoria and other city governments.

They have three main demands:

  • Every city in the West Valley declare a climate emergency
  • Every city in the West Valley adopt a progressive climate action plan to include a decarbonization of cities’ energy and economy and a halt on all new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Every city in the West Valley adopt a climate resilience and adaptation plan to protect all residents from the effects of climate change

Organizers of the Peoria strike say these demands are not only feasible but necessary in order to protect West Valley residents and their futures.

These youngsters are continuing a call to action their contemporaries have incited.

Look at March for our Lives, the movement that flowered after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead — youngsters like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg whose fiery speeches turned heads following the Valentines Day massacre in 2018.

Youth activism everywhere, at home and abroad, often sparks positive change for future generations.

This week, students in the West Valley will add their voice to the chorus.

Philip Haldiman is the Peoria Independent News Editor.