Youth climate activists dumped wildfire ashes on the California homes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein this week to demand they takes steps towards the Green New Deal.
Protesters made a 266-mile journey to the lawmakers’ homes with the last leg across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.
Numbers swelled to more than 100 activists on the “Generation on Fire” march organized by the youth-led Sunrise Movement. Activists came from Texas, Louisiana and California, all states on the frontlines of the climate crisis which are experiencing more extreme wildfires, hurricanes, and hotter temperatures.
A handful of youth demonstrators had embarked from Paradise, a small town in Butte County, which was the scene of the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest blaze in 100 years in the US. It left 85 people dead and destroyed 95 per cent of structures.
They also handed over dozens of letters from Paradise residents who had survived the wildfire.
At Speaker Pelosi’s mansion, the activists painted a colorful mural which read “Invest in us” on Monday after dumping wildfire ashes on her porch, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Allen Meyers, who lives in Paradise, gave the youth activists the ashes of his family home.
“It’s meant to illustrate the urgency of the reality we are living in,” he told ABC7.
At Senator Feinstein’s palatial home, activists and political opponents questioned how the gardens remained so lush and green despite California being under severe drought conditions.
Aaryaman “Sunny” Singhal, one of the Sunrise activists, tweeted: “How does a senator @SenFeinstein have shrubbery like that during a historic drought. WTF?”
Shahid Buttar, an activist and organizer who is exploring a Congressional run in 2022, posted on Twitter: “@SenFeinstein‘s mansion sure looks lush for a state in the middle of a catastrophic drought.”
A triple-digit heatwave is rolling through the US Southwest with states on high alert over dangerous health conditions and fire risk.
The Independent has contacted the office of Senator Feinstein for comment.
A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi called the young climate activists an “inspiration” and said that environmental justice for all is a “bedrock value for Democrats”.
The statement continued: “The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time and requires bold and immediate action, which is why House Democrats have presented the most ambitious, impactful and forward-looking climate response in Congressional history.
“Democrats’ response includes passing historic bills to reduce pollution, invest in clean energy and lower global temperatures; launching the Solving the Climate Crisis Action Plan, which is the boldest climate plan in history and called for the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps; improving parks and preserving millions of acres of wild and scenic places; and traveling around the world and hosting global climate summits that put environmental justice front and center of the agenda.”
The Sunrise Movement is calling on Democrats to back a Civilian Climate Corps to bring jobs to communities disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. The calls for a corps are part of a broader effort to have the Green New Deal implemented.
The congressional resolution was introduced by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, calling for transitioning the US to 100 per cent clean energy while guaranteeing jobs with living wages.