Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet

St. Paul Youth Climate Strike: Call to Action & Lessons

What is the Climate Strike & Why is it Important?

The Climate Strike is a youth-led international effort sparked by Greta Thunberg. The movement demands swift climate action such as transitioning from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. Approximately four million people participated in September 20, 2019 protests. Messaging emphasized the harm our hotter planet is already inflicting upon millions of people and the need for climate justice and equity. A second strike is planned for September 27, 2019, and continuing political activities are meant to highlight cause solidarity.

On September 23, 2019 at the United Nations (U.N.) Climate Summit in New York City, Thunberg and 15 other youth filed a lawsuit. They are suing five major carbon polluting countries—Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, and Turkey—for violating their rights as children. Although China is currently the largest carbon emitter globally and the U.S. has put the most CO2 into our atmosphere, neither country has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty and therefore they were not named in the lawsuit. Several of the youth who filed the lawsuit are from islands threatened by rising sea levels. A boy from the Pacific nation of Palau, Carlos Manual, explained, “Our homes are being swallowed by the ocean, the places where memories are made. I am standing in front of you because I care about my generation.”

At the U.N., Thunberg addressed the General Assembly with an emotional speech, asserting, “We will rise to the challenge, we will hold those who are the most responsible for this crisis accountable, and we will make the world leaders act.” If the suit is upheld, the U.N. will be forced to classify the climate change crisis as a human rights crisis. After decades of minimal action to curb carbon emissions, political leaders may finally enact impactful regulations.

Call to Action for Sustainable Businesses

As an environmentally-responsible signage business, Green Dot Sign felt that it was our duty to support Minnesota’s youth at their September 20, 2019 protest at the capital. We are one of the hundreds of businesses across the nation and globe that took time away from business as usual to stand up for our values and listen to the next generation to be impacted by our climate crisis.

From the youth climate strike in Saint Paul, Minnesota Green Dot Sign gained the following perspectives:

We should listen to our children

The teens that led the Saint Paul strike were impressive and put together a strong event. Participants came together and jointly chanted common messages including “metal straws are not enough” and “we deserve a future too.” Speakers from varied backgrounds passionately presented and bravely asserted their values in a way most adults have forgotten how.

Climate change impacts are not equal

Generally, the poor and those disadvantaged due to race and/or gender are most affected by massive storms, crop decimation, and rising sea levels. The Climate Strike highlighted how the Twin Cities contains air quality differences between struggling North Minneapolis neighborhoods and wealthy suburbs. The rich tend to consume more material goods and energy and are also more likely to escape the most harmful externalities of capitalist behaviors.

Climate change is real—and so are the solutions

While some Americans still debate global warming science, protesters know that there is no time for discussion. Immediate action is necessary. In addition to taking broad stances on energy and consumption, replacement of Enbridge Energy’s line 3 pipeline across Northern Minnesota was a talking point. Instead of prioritizing short-term construction-related employment, Minnesotans need to weigh long-term environmental impacts of extracting oil from tar sands.

Corporate Environmental Responsibility

Our youth are telling us that because we have not acted, they will. As businesses, communities, and individuals, we must listen and work with our youth to develop and enact equitable climate change Solutions.

Green Dot Sign was founded after a decade of making traditional, polluting signage in order to do something better. While establishing our business, we found the Leadership in Environmental & Energy Design (LEED) certification standard from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Declare program from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) to be valuable resources for developing the most sustainable product.

There are many organizations committed to the environment that can guide businesses to enhance their procurement, logistics, energy consumption, waste disposal, and products and/or services. If you haven’t already, explore how your organization can start taking action to become more eco-friendly today!