FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2023
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Youth-led climate activists to march in DC on Earth Day, demand end to fossil fuels
A diverse collective of climate activists and groups, including youth-led groups, are coming together this Saturday to hold a rally and march to the White House to call for immediate, radical change and an end to the era of fossil fuels.
“The climate crisis is no longer an abstract future or a news article about a far-off country,” said Katharina Maier, a national coordinator at Fridays For Future U.S. “It’s here — it’s now. We have to act. Everywhere you look, young people are acting for systemic change, but we can’t do it alone; we need those from every generation who understand the urgency of the climate crisis to join us to address its root causes in concrete ways.”
While the climate crisis affects billions of people around the world, its most devastating impacts are felt by marginalized communities, particularly by communities of color, indigenous communities, low-income communities, women and children — including here in the United States.
Addressing this existential threat requires urgent, intersectional, and systemic action. This Earth Day, climate activists are demanding that the US government and other decision-makers say no to further investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and commit to a livable, just, and more equitable future for all.
”Even as the earth burns, decision-makers continue to promote the very fossil fuels that are causing the climate crisis,” said Ariya Lee, a youth organizer with Fridays For Future DC. “We have come together in solidarity to say that the era of fossil fuels must end. We are at a time when our window for change is closing. What else is it going to take?”
The day’s events will begin at 12:00pm ET with a rally and concert in Freedom Plaza, followed at 1:00pm ET by a march to the White House where participants will deliver a giant book with personal messages written to President Biden. An organizing fair at 3:00pm ET will encourage activists of all ages to share skills and make their voices heard through art, writing, and further actions.
End the Era of Fossil Fuels is a collective of civil society groups joining together for Earth Day 2023 in Washington, DC. We come from all different backgrounds fighting for a variety of intersecting causes because we know that our crises are interconnected and our movement is stronger together. Learn more at EarthDayDC.org.
Additional quotes from organizers and civil society representatives:
“It’s high time to take Earth Day back to its roots as a people-powered mobilization confronting the actors wrecking our planet. Young people and the public have forced our leaders to acknowledge that rampant oil and gas production is driving the climate crisis — now it’s time for action. This Earth Day, we demand an end to the era of fossil fuels polluting our lands and waters, sickening our families, and fueling climate disaster. Mayor Bowser, President Biden, and leaders everywhere must move swiftly to stop all new fossil fuel permits and swiftly phase out existing fossil infrastructure with a just transition,” said Collin Rees, United States Program Manager at Oil Change International.
“We are the first generation that will see a billion climate refugees, mass extinctions, and ecosystem collapse, but we are the LAST generation that can do anything about it. The Biden Administration betrayed the nation’s climate goals by approving the massive new Willow oil fields and dozens of other new fossil fuel projects. This is not just bad policy—it’s climate suicide for future generations. We only have about 7 years to get carbon emission on track, so show us now: which side are you on?” said Rosie Clemans-Cope, youth organizer at Fridays For Future and Sunrise Rockville.
“We cannot end the climate crisis without ending war and our obsession with militarism. The United States Pentagon is the planet’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gasses and consumer of oil. The United States military and its weapons are consistently deployed to secure economic dominance for the few while ensuring suffering for the many, from testing sites and toxic waste on Indigenous lands, to militarized police in Black communities, to making a killing off of killing people in the Global South. A new world is possible and we can start with using the nearly ONE TRILLION DOLLAR Pentagon budget this year to fund a just transition serving people and the planet. We come rising together to explicitly link anti-militarism and climate justice,” said Olivia DiNucci, Anti-Militarism Organizer at CODEPINK.
“On this Earth Day, we are mobilizing to demand an end to the era of fossil fuels and to realize an equitable future that prioritizes care, community, and climate action for people around the globe. As the largest historical emitter, bold action must start with the United States. The Biden administration and Congress must commit the United States to urgent and deep emissions reductions, holding the fossil fuel industry to account, and enacting solutions that prioritize human rights. One key way that the Biden administration can show support for climate and environmental justice is by protecting the National Environmental Policy Act from attacks. This bedrock law protects the voices of marginalized communities and ensures climate change is taken seriously by all government agencies and is crucial to realizing a just energy transition,” said Margaret Kran-Annexstein, Climate Campaign Lead at Oxfam America.
“Young people like myself everywhere are fighting for climate justice. We shouldn’t have to, but even as the earth burns, decision-makers continue to promote the very fossil fuels that are causing the climate crisis. So we have come together in solidarity to say that the era of fossil fuels must end. People are already being displaced and losing their lives because of the climate crisis. Damage has been done to the planet and its people that will never fully heal. What else is it going to take to spark change? We are at a time where our window for change is closing. We need everyone in this movement to demand action on the issues that allowed this environmental injustice to happen in the first place, and to fight for climate justice,” said Ariya Lee, youth organizer at Fridays For Future DC.
“One impact of Earth Day is bringing young people, adults, and seasoned adults together to create a space for a leadership dance where each of us is willing to step back and be a beacon and or step up and radiate. At the same time, we collectively call for the end of fossil fuels. Power to the people; power to young people,” said LaDon Love, Executive Director at SPACES in Action.
“For us young people, the majority of our lives will be lived in the hellscape our so-called leaders and the corporations that fund them are responsible for creating. We are experiencing the consequences of systems built on power and greed, and people are dying because those in power have decided their profits are worth more than human life. How many more lives must be lost, heat records broken, acres burned down, homes washed away? The climate crisis is no longer an abstract future or a news article about a far-off country. It’s here — it’s now. We have to act. Everywhere you look, young people are acting for systemic change, but we can’t do it alone; we need those from every generation who understand the urgency of the climate crisis to join us to address its root causes in concrete ways,” said Katharina Maier, National Coordinator at Fridays For Future U.S.
“Indigenous, Latine, and Black communities are hardest hit by this climate crisis, yet they’re the folks who’re most excluded from the decision-making table when it comes to solutions that could save their lives. Well, we’ve had enough of the racist pro-corporate leadership who’ve used these communities as dumping sites for their fossil fuel production. Furthermore, we’re done with the predominantly white privileged environmental organizations who’ve shut out climate activists of color. We’re here in big numbers now to demand our rightful seat at the table!” said Analilia Mejia, Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy.
“We are so energized by this coalition and the hundreds of community members who show up in the streets to demand the end of the fossil fuel era — a demand that is alive for us right here in DC. Washington Gas wants to spend $4.5 billion on a massive methane pipeline replacement project that will trap DC into decades more of reliance on dangerous, planet-warming fossil fuels — all the while sacrificing our health and safety, particularly those of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities. This project lives or dies this year, making 2023 a make or break year for climate action in DC. It’s time for the DC Council and Public Service Commission to prioritize our health, safety, and future and kick fossil fuels out of DC for good,” said Jade Olson, press spokesperson at Extinction Rebellion DC.
“To some people, climate change is associated with polar bears — but this action is proof of the opposite. We have people who fight for racial and gender justice, immigrant rights, and housing security coming together. Climate change isn’t just about one event. It is a tangle of all the injustices we face today. Scientists and activists have been saying that we need to take climate change seriously, for years. Yet decision-makers have all but ignored the crisis. It is time to address the problem at its root cause — burning fossil fuels. This outdated practice has torn our planet up from the inside and will continue to do so. My generation won’t have a home unless we act now. We will need everyone to join this fight because it has always been the people who have achieved justice, and this still holds true — for people and for the planet,” said Nethra Purushothaman, youth organizer at Fridays For Future DC.
“To judge by the anemic actions of our leaders — those with the power of government, industry, and capital — the climate crisis is a problem of minor importance. ‘No need to change too much,’ their actions tell us. ‘Nothing too radical.’ But the leaders that tell us this are the same leaders that profit by protecting systemic inequalities today and sacrificing our future tomorrow. Our actions on Earth Day are an invitation to those leaders to replace a world of greed with one of just opportunity. The reality is this: We see our leaders’ hollow actions and we are collectively realizing our power to ensure a just world whether or not they choose to assist us,” said Grant Samms, Chapter Chair at Climate Reality Project DC.
“After running and getting elected on a climate platform filled with promises of blocking new drilling on federal lands, President Biden has outpaced the former president in his administration’s approval of new oil and gas development. While claiming to be a climate president, Biden approved the largest oil and gas development on federal land in the history of the United States, then approved one ten times its size just weeks later. The administration is screwing around on climate, but it will quickly learn that youth and frontline communities aren’t. Youth and frontline organizers aren’t screwing around, and neither are youth and frontline voters. A viable 2024 Joe Biden reelection campaign will require the votes that are currently being alienated by an administration in bed with the fossil fuel industry. Young people and frontline communities deserve better,” said Liv Schroeder, National Coordinator at Fridays For Future U.S.
“Young people, and many of us in solidarity with young people, are gathering in Washington, DC to send a clear message to our government: Fossil fuels are an existential threat to the planetary climate, frontline communities, public health, and ecosystems. It is hypocritical for the United States to claim to be a global climate leader while recklessly expanding fossil fuel production and exports. We demand that the United States live up to its rhetoric by starting to phase out fossil fuel production, with a just transition for extraction-dependent communities and workers,” said Basav Sen, Climate Policy Director at the Institute for Policy Studies.
“From two massive fossil-fuel carbon bombs in Alaska to reckless offshore drilling in the Gulf, President Biden is handing out fossil fuel permits like they’re candy. It’s offensive that the Biden administration still claims climate leadership when the country continues to top the charts as the world’s largest oil and gas producer. To honor Earth Day and his campaign promises, Biden should declare a climate emergency and use his authority to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and replace them with just and renewable energy,” said Jean Su, Senior Attorney & Energy Justice Program Director at the Center for Biological Diversity.