Greta Thunberg, 16-year-old Swedish student climate activist, has landed in New York after a two-week sail across the Atlantic. She is here to address the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23 and to help lead the climate action strikes on Sept. 20. Greta and many student activists from around the world are saying, “We’re asking you to step up alongside us. There are many different plans underway in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together with our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make our voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.”
Recently, the Mountain Xpress detailed the challenge local government plans to “run their operations entirely with renewable energy by 2030” face in light of Duke Energy’s intentions to continue producing close to 50% of our electricity by burning fossil fuels [“Paths to Power: City, County Debut Results of Renewable Energy Planning,” Aug. 21].
Here in Asheville, Duke is putting the finishing touches of an $893 million power plant that will require fracked [natural] gas for at least a 25-year operating life. In their latest 15-year plan, Duke projects only 8% renewable energy capacity, yet wants to increase our rates to pay for fixing storm damage and leaking coal ash pits.
The worldwide strike on Friday, Sept. 20, will demand that our elected leaders stop business as usual and respond positively and immediately to the climate disruption crisis now upon us. Radical and expensive measures like a Green New Deal may be necessary, but “It’s pay me now, or pay me later,” and now will be cheaper and more effective!
In our region, both Greenville, S.C., and Raleigh are hosting student-organized rallies at noon. Locally, adults can support the students: No work, no purchasing anything (buy food in advance and no “Amazon” online purchasing) and join the Asheville Climate Justice rally at the Vance Monument at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. For more info, link to Asheville Climate Justice Rally [avl.mx/6hv].
— Frank L. Fox