(BIVN) – A group of concerned citizens – of all ages – crowded the mayor’s office in Hilo on Friday, coinciding with the Global Climate Strike held around the world that same day.
The mayor’s office happily received the group, and Mayor Harry Kim spent a little less than an hour with the crowd in his conference room.
According to Climate Strike organizers, events occurred at more than 1,100 locations across the United States on Friday. More than 6,000 people in 150 countries pledged to organize events on the same day.
The September 20 strike was held three days before the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, when world leaders will meet in New York to discuss the issue.
The events, including the one held in Hilo, put children first. According to a news release from the national effort:
The Youth Climate Strike Coalition is steering the national campaign, with the active support, participation and collaboration from an Adult Climate Strike Coalition, which includes leading national progressive organizations such as 350.org, Greenpeace, SEIU and March On. Youth and adults, institutional and grassroots organizations, climate-focused and social justice groups, are coming together as a unified front to demand the change needed to protect the future.
In the Hawaiʻi County Mayor’s office, children read short statements as Mayor Kim listened.
The Mayor also did a lot of talking himself. He said he was in admiration of the young people who came to his office, because “for you to spend your time and be involve in this is so great and I appreciate it.”
“We didn’t leave too nice a place for the young people, some of the things we did,” Kim said. “It doesn’t matter who’s to blame, because we all are. But from here on in we don’t have much an excuse of ‘we didn’t know’, because I think we know.”
The group, many wearing Extinction Rebellion shirts, also presented the mayor their demands, asking him to sign a climate emergency declaration and to support an upcoming council resolution on the subject.
The group also repeated some of the demands found on the Strike With Us website, such as:
A Green New Deal
- Transform our economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 and phase out all fossil fuel extraction through a just and equitable transition, creating millions of good jobs
- A halt to all leasing and permitting for fossil fuel extraction, processing and infrastructure projects immediately
Respect of Indigenous Land and Sovereignty
- Honor the treaties protecting Indigenous lands, waters, and sovereignty by the immediate halt of all construction, leasing, and permitting for resource extraction, processing and infrastructure projects affecting or on Indigenous lands
- Recognize the Rights of Nature into law to protect our sacred ecosystems and align human law with natural law to ban resource extraction in defense of our environment and people
- A transition that invests in prosperity for communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution
- Welcoming those displaced by the cumulative effects of the climate crisis, economic inequality, violence, and lack of opportunity
Protection and Restoration of Biodiversity
- Protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans including a halt to all deforestation by 2030
Implementation of Sustainable Agriculture
- Investment in farmers and regenerative agriculture and an end to subsidies for industrial agriculture
Mayor Kim did not sign any of the paperwork he was presented during the gathering, nor did he commit to signing anything in the coming weeks.