Climate Leaders Ask for Massive Public Turnout at Upcoming Global Strikes
By Andrea Germanos
The strikes, which are set for Sept. 20 and 27 — with additional actions slated for the days in between — are planned in over 150 countries thus far, and over 6,000 people have already pledged to take part.
It has the potential to be the biggest climate mobilization yet, said organizers.
"Our house is on fire — let's act like it," says the strikes' call-to-action, referencing the words of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. "We demand climate justice for everyone."
Thunberg echoed that call in a just-released video promoting the upcoming actions.
"Everyone should mobilize for the 20th and 27th of September," said Thunberg, "because this is a global issue which actually affects everyone."
It's been the world's youth, though, that have played a driving force in recently calling attention to the climate crisis with protests and school strikes.
"Young people have been leading here," 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said in the Thunberg video, "but now it's the job of the rest of us to back them up."
The two Fridays of action, according to organizers, will bookend a "Week for Future" to sustain the climate call. Nestled between is the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on Sept. 23 in New York.
"Because we don't have a single year to lose," said Luisa Neubauer of Fridays for Future Germany in a press statement Wednesday, "we're going to make this week a turning point in history."
The upcoming protests reflect a call form a diverse group of global organizations, including Amnesty International, Oxfam, La Via Campesina, Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion.
The Youth Climate Strike Coalition, which includes Sunrise Movement and Zero Hour, issued a press statement Wednesday focusing on U.S. actions on September 20.
"The youth uprising," said 350.org North America director Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, "is backed by millions who refuse to sit by while the Trump administration, hand-in-hand with fossil fuel executives, continues their campaign of climate denial and policy rollbacks, all while we face extreme heat waves, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires."
"We stand with communities demanding economic transformation that works for our collective right to a sustainable, healthy, and livable future," she continued.
Backing up the need for the mobilization is ample evidence of the climate crisis. As the Global Climate Strike website sums up:
- Our house is on fire.
- Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people.
- We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations, and climate justice at its heart.
The inter-generational and global actions, according to the global organizers, can serve to show the size of the chorus of those demanding an end to the fossil fuel economy, bring out those previous on the sidelines of the climate justice fight, and "kickstart a huge wave of action and renewed ambition all over the world."
To make that happen, massive turnout is necessary, said Evan Cholerton of Earth Strike International.
"Multinational corporations aren't going to give up anything unless we fight," he said.
"This is a fight for ourselves, for our future, and for future generations," continued Cholerton. "This is a fight for justice for all: workers, students, parents, teachers, conservatives, liberals, socialists, and everyone else. We can fight against climate breakdown, and we can fight against environmental destruction. We need to all be part of this, or else the establishment won't budge."
"We can do this," he added, "if we do this together."
RT! Student-Led Climate Strikes Happening in 130+ Countries— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) March 15, 2019
"We are unstoppable. Another world is possible"#ClimateStrike#ClimateStrike#ClimateStrike#ClimateStrike#ClimateStrike
@getup @wiesslersophie @veta_chan @mikehudema @pragmactivist https://t.co/ON0zg0TkBc
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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By Melissa Hawkins
After sustained declines in the number of COVID-19 cases over recent months, restrictions are starting to ease across the United States. Numbers of new cases are falling or stable at low numbers in some states, but they are surging in many others. Overall, the U.S. is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new cases a day, and by late June, had surpassed the peak rate of spread in early April.
Seven day rolling average of number of people confirmed to have COVID-19, per day (not including today). This chart gets updated once per day with data by Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins university doesn't provide reliable data for March 12 and March 13. Johns Hopkins CSSE Get the data
To Have a Second Wave, the First Wave Needs to End.<p>A wave of an infection describes a large rise and fall in the number of cases. There isn't a precise epidemiological definition of when a wave begins or ends.</p><p>But with talk of a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/27/new-covid-19-clusters-across-world-spark-fear-of-second-wave" target="_blank">second wave in the news</a>, as an <a href="https://www.american.edu/cas/faculty/mhawkins.cfm" target="_blank">epidemiologist and public health researcher</a>, I think there are two necessary factors that must be met before we can colloquially declare a second wave.</p><p>First, the virus would have to be controlled and transmission brought down to a very low level. That would be the end of the first wave. Then, the virus would need to reappear and result in a large increase in cases and hospitalizations.</p><p>Many countries in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0908-8" target="_blank">Europe and Asia have successfully ended the first wave</a>. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/08/new-zealand-abandons-covid-19-restrictions-after-nation-declared-no-cases" target="_blank">New Zealand</a> and <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/08/how-iceland-beat-the-coronavirus" target="_blank">Iceland</a> have also made it through their first waves and are now essentially coronavirus-free, with very low levels of community transmission and only a handful of active cases currently.</p>
Different States, Different Trends<p>Looking at U.S. numbers as a whole hides what is really going on. Different states are in <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html" target="_blank">vastly different situations right now</a> and when you look at states individually, four major categories emerge.</p><ol><li>Places where the first wave is ending: States in the Northeast and a few scattered elsewhere experienced large initial spikes but were able to mostly contain the virus and substantially brought down new infections. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/new-york-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">New York</a> is a good example of this.</li><li>Places still in the first wave: Several states in the South and West – see <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/texas-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">Texas</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/california-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">California</a> – had some cases early on, but are now seeing massive surges with no sign of slowing down.</li><li>Places in between: Many states were hit early in the first wave, managed to slow it down, but are either at a plateau – like <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/north-dakota-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">North Dakota</a> – or are now seeing steep increases – like <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/oklahoma-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">Oklahoma</a>.</li><li>Places experiencing local second waves: Looking only at a state level, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/hawaii-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/montana-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">Montana</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/alaska-coronavirus-cases.html" target="_blank">Alaska</a> could be said to be experiencing second waves. Each state experienced relatively small initial outbreaks and was able to reduce spread to single digits of daily new confirmed cases, but are now all seeing spikes again.</li></ol><p>The trends aren't surprising based on how states have been dealing with reopening. The virus will go wherever there are susceptible people and until the U.S. stops community spread across the entire country, the first wave isn't over.</p>
What Could a Second Wave Look Like?<p>It is possible – though at this point it seems unlikely – that the U.S. could control the virus before a vaccine is developed. If that happens, it would be time to start thinking about a second wave. The question of what it might look like depends in large part on everyone's actions.</p><p>The <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1086%2F592454" target="_blank">1918 flu pandemic</a> was characterized by a mild first wave in the winter of 1917-1918 that went away in summer. After restrictions were lifted, people very quickly went back to pre-pandemic life. But a second, deadlier strain came back in fall of 1918 and third in spring of 1919. In total, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/1918-pandemic-history.htm" target="_blank">more than 500 million people were infected</a> worldwide and upwards of <a href="https://theconversation.com/compare-the-flu-pandemic-of-1918-and-covid-19-with-caution-the-past-is-not-a-prediction-138895" target="_blank">50 million died</a> over the course of three waves.</p><p>It was the combination of a quick return to normal life and a mutation in the flu's genome that made it more deadly that led to the horrific second and third waves.</p><p>Thankfully, the coronavirus appears to be much more <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2020.104351" target="_blank">genetically stable</a> than the influenza virus, and thus less likely to mutate into a more deadly variant. That leaves human behavior as the main risk factor.</p><p>Until a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-needs-to-go-right-to-get-a-coronavirus-vaccine-in-12-18-months-136816" target="_blank">vaccine or effective treatment is developed</a>, the tried-and-true public health measures of the last months – <a href="https://theconversation.com/this-simple-model-shows-the-importance-of-wearing-masks-and-social-distancing-140423" target="_blank">social distancing,</a> <a href="https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507" target="_blank">universal mask wearing</a>, frequent hand-washing and avoiding crowded indoor spaces – are the ways to stop the first wave and thwart a second one. And when there are surges like what is happening now in the U.S., further reopening plans need to be put on hold.</p>
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By Emma Charlton
Gluts of food left to rot as a consequence of coronavirus aren't just wasteful – they're also likely to damage the environment.
Methane on the Rise<p>Not only is this a tragic waste of food at a time when many are going hungry, it is also an <a href="https://donatedontdump.net/2014/07/07/the-effects-of-food-waste-on-the-environment-by-junemy-pantig/" target="_blank">environmental hazard</a> and could contribute to global warming. Landfill gas – <a href="https://www.epa.gov/lmop/basic-information-about-landfill-gas" target="_blank">roughly half methane and half carbon dioxide (CO2)</a> – is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material.</p>
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