By Robert Bernstein
As I write this, countries from around the world are convening in Glasgow for COP26 to solve the Climate Crisis. It is 26 because for 26 years these meetings have been going on and the threat keeps getting worse. I first began talking about the Climate Crisis in 1981 when it was called Global Warming due to the Greenhouse Effect. Swedish Chemistry Nobel Laureate Svante Arrhenius first warned of this in 1896.
Fridays for the Future climate marches are happening all over the world to raise awareness of the crisis we are facing. In Santa Barbara, we had a special Halloween-themed event with participation by UC Santa Barbara’s Environmental Affairs Board, the Santa Barbara County Action Network, Sunrise Santa Barbara, the Society of Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara, Sierra Club Santa Barbara and 350 Santa Barbara.
Here are my photos.
The group gathered on the steps of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building and listened to a few short speeches which I recorded:
The speakers in order were:
Nadia Abushanab – SB County Action Network (SBCAN)
Michael Meredith, retired teacher (CalSTRS pension plan member)
Kat Lane – Environmental Affairs Board, UCSB Associated Students
Alyssa Jain – Sunrise Movement Santa Barbara
Nadia Abushanab called on people to ask President Biden to establish the Chumash Marine Sanctuary. She thanked Governor Newsom for establishing a 3200 foot setback zone for oil wells. But she called on people to ask him to stop allowing new fossil fuel development in California.
Michael Meredith called for divestment of retirement funds from fossil fuel industries. Even if it means losing some income short term.
Kat Lane tied together all struggles for justice as a unified movement. She talked of Senator Joe Manchin and his six million dollar conflict of interest on profiting from coal.
Alyssa Jain summarized the August Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called a “code red for humanity”. The past five years have been the hottest on record. Sea levels are rising. Oceans are becoming hotter and more acidic. These changes will soon become irreversible. Climate Change is no longer just about the future. It is happening right here, right now. Action is needed now while there is still hope to head off the worst of the coming crisis.
Rally participants then posed for photos on the steps of the Administration Building.
Then the group headed over to State Street and marched in a loop to De La Guerra Plaza and back.
Here is a short video of my clips of the march:
Here is more information about the global Fridays for the Future: https://fridaysforfuture.org/
As I was preparing to write this up, I was reading a review article in New Scientist magazine about a new book called “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” by Andreas Malm. He is saying that the time for peaceful protest is over. He compares the Climate Crisis to what it took to actually end past atrocities like slavery. You can read a short review here at Goodreads: