Montana’s youth have officially joined the growing subset of the Montana population sensing the need for urgent action on climate. In Billings, thanks to the students from St. Francis’ Environmental Club for attending the climate strike. Claire Freeman, a young Jesuit volunteer assigned to Billings, spoke at the climate rally.
Hopefully, their actions will mobilize us, their parents, as well. It was a youth of 15 who refused to give up her seat to a white person, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same, sparking the civil rights movement. Youth have been deeply important to every progressive social movement, including the United States Civil Rights movement, the LGBTQ movement, repeated waves of active for equal rights for females, environmentalism and environmental justice, the labor, antiwar, and immigrant rights movements, and more. But youth activism did not end there.
Across the world, 7.6 million youth and supporting adults attended climate strikes in 170 countries at over 6,000 events. As adults, we are only catching the onset of climate change. Our youth will feel the full brunt of the changes and losses.
They join the faith community who also care deeply about this subject. All the mainline Protestant denominations, along with Pope Francis and the Catholic communities and orders, have issued strong statements of concern about climate change. Over three million evangelical Christians have signed statements of concern online as part of the evangelical environmental network. In Billings, faith community organized and led the climate week activities.
To people of all ages who care: Get involved. There is strength in numbers, and solace in personal actions.
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Lori and Rob Byron
Montana Faith, Science
and Climate Action