The Americas, Protest North and South
Climate change protest throughout the Americas from Canada to the southern tip of Argentina have been and will continue to co-exist and collaborate with other movements for social justice, human rights, and popular democratic control over public policy in increasingly inclusive ways - threatening the status quo and offering hope for a future.
Europe has inspired America in the protest against climate change, inertia and denial that must be thwarted. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who launched the Fridays for Future school walkouts, has been especially influential - in the Americas as throughout the world. Since her humble strikes began in front of the Swedish Parliament in 2018, she and her message have galvanized a global youth movement demanding action on climate change.
The USA is one example of the way in which the movement has been built upon past civil rights and social justice movements, where tactics such as marching in the streets and occupying places of commerce or political power have been used effectively resulting in concrete and sustained gains over time.
The Green New Deal, policy initiatives endorsed by many Democratic politicians including and most prominently several who are running for President of the USA, are serving as a vehicle of hope for building economic and political space for the most vulnerable communities that have been affected by climate change as society transitions to a new energy economy. Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, for example, the North America director for the climate activist group 350.org, suggests that the movement must explicitly connect social justice and climate work moving forward.
Many see addressing socioeconomic and racial disparities in the U.S. as intrinsically part of the movement seeking to stem climate change, working to channel youthful energy towards local policy goals which have a chance at implementation at the same time that the struggle continues to stem the tide of climate change by making it a top national priority.
Young activists in Washington state, for example, have formed broad coalitions that have ultimately resulted in laws that steer state development of the economy to the achievement of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, the most progressive achievement so far in the nation.