Thurston Youth Climate Alliance members staged a die-in protest at the recent Olympia city council meeting, urging the city to act on the climate crisis.
Louisa Sevier, the alliance’s spokesperson, participated in the public comment during the city council meeting yesterday, with her student companions dropped to the ground one by one to demonstrate the devastation the climate crisis may bring and lying still on the city council chamber floor throughout the public comment segment.
According to Sevier, the National Academy of Sciences has projected a sea-level rise of 78 inches by 2100, which would result in a loss of 690,000 square miles of land, which would displace 2.5% of the world’s population.
“As our climate changes rapidly, our farms won’t be able to support the same crops or sustain the same level of production that is required to feed everyone,” said Sevier.
By 2050, Sevier added that 500,000 people could die from food insecurity due to climate change.
Citing the World Health Organization report, Sevier said climate change will kill 5 million people between 2030 and 2050; 83 million by 2100.
“When youth imagine our future, this what we have to look forward to. We are terrified of what the world would look like when we are older,” Sevier remarked.
Sevier said they felt heard, seen, and understood when the city council adopted the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan in 2021.
“We thought that finally elected officials were going to take the necessary urgent action to protect our futures, our livelihoods, our mental health, or safety,” said Sevier. “But we have not been proven correct.”
C grade for Olympia
According to Sevier, the Thurston Youth Climate Alliance gave the city a “C” grade report card for its actions on the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan . “We need you to act on this. We need you to fund this. Otherwise, we don’t know what will be left for us.”
Councilmember Dani Madrone said she is looking forward to how the youth alliance evaluated them.
“I remember that grade C being average. We don’t want to be average here in Olympia,” Madrone opined. “We want to do really good things, especially when it comes to climate change. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront.”
Councilmember Lisa Parshley said the same group had evaluated them before and got "C-". “We have gone up a tiny bit. But 70% is not good enough for their future.”
Parshley also pointed out that Sevier participated as a negotiator in the city’s Youth Climate Inheritance Resolution the city passed in 2019, which aims to protect the youth from the risks of climate desctruction.
She encouraged the Thurston Youth Climate Alliance members to apply to the TCMP workgroup, saying, “We need youth representation in this workgroup that will guide our work plan for the region.”
Councilmember Dontae Payne said he was surprised by the group’s die-in demonstration. “I had not seen this before, [but] certainly made its mark on us all.”
Councilmember Yen Huynh described the youth demonstration as powerful, comparing the sight to the recent mass shooting incidents in Buffalo and Texas.
“Climate change happened every day. We must do our best to mitigate that. I will do everything I can on my end to further this conversation along, not only in Olympia but also in the state level,” Huynh said.
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